Calliteara farenoides (T.P. Lucas, 1892)
(possible synonyms :
Orgyia horsfieldii Swinhoe, 1923, and
Dasychira queenslandica Strand, 1915)
Don Herbison-Evans,
Peter Mackey & Stella Crossley

Calliteara farenoides
(Photo: courtesy of Ann Peach, found at Tolga, Queensland)

The Caterpillar of Calliteara farenoides is yellow with a grey back and a prominent black band on the first abdominal segment. The caterpillar has an orange head and is covered in long pale yellow hairs. These include four tussocks on the back of each of the first four abdominal segments, and a longer spike of hairs on the tail. This caterpillar was feeding on

  • Wild Almond ( Prunus turneriana, ROSACEAE ), and also
  • Puckerum ( Helmholtzia acorifolia, PONTEDERIACEAE ).

    Calliteara horsfieldii
    (Specimen: copyright of Peter Mackey, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea,
    identified as Calliteara horsfieldii)

    The larva photographed here from Port Moresby (New Guinea) was found on:

  • Terminalia ( Terminalia carolinensis, COMBRETACEAE ),

    although it has been found on plants from a dozen different families.

    Interestingly, this species or race has dimorphic larvae :- the yellowish one (illustrated) and also a reddish form. The yellowish and reddish forms occurred in same instar larvae reared from eggs from the same female. (Holloway describes the larva of Calliteara horsfieldii only as being yellowish).

    Calliteara farenoides
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum,
    labelled as Dasychira horsfieldii)

    The female and male adults are different. The female is white with a few squiggly brown lines on the forewings.

    Calliteara farenoides
    (Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland)

    The male has more pronounced squiggly lines on the forewings, and hindwings which each have a large orange area. The female has a wingspan of about 6 cms. The male has a span of about 4 cms.

    Calliteara farenoides
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum,
    labelled as Dasychira horsfieldii)

    The moths called Calliteara horsfieldii are found in the oriental tropics, including :

  • Borneo,
  • Hong Kong, and
  • Thailand.

    The species named Calliteara farenoides has been found in:

  • Queensland, and
  • Victoria.

    Calliteara farenoides
    male underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

    There are many similar species and races which occur throughout south-east Asia, through New Guinea to Victoria. Clearly: Lucas considered the Australian specimens to be a species in its own right, but some taxomists think the Australian specimens are just a subspecies: Calliteara horsfieldii farenoides.

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 19.4, p. 428.

    Thomas P. Lucas,
    On 34 new species of Australian Lepidoptera, with additional localities,
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland,
    Volume 8 (1892), p. 75.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 107.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 3 May 2012, 31 October 2014)