Capusa cuculloides (R. Felder, 1874)
White-winged Wedge-moth
(previously known as: Teinocladia cuculloides)
Don Herbison-Evans
Cathy Byrne & Stella Crossley

Capusa cuculloides
(Photo: courtesy of Steve Williams, Moths of Victoria: Part 5)

This Caterpillar is initially green with a dark brown dorsal line. In later instars, the dorsal line breaks into a series of dark patches, one on each segment.

Capusa cuculloides
green form
(Photo: copyright Cathy Byrne)

The caterpillar feeds on the foliage of plants in various families, including

  • Peruvian Pepper (Schinus molle, ANACARDIACEAE),
  • Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha, MIMOSACEAE),
  • Gum Trees (Eucalyptus species, MYRTACEAE),
  • Brown Boronia (Boronia megastigma, RUTACEAE), and
  • Cherry Ballart (Exocarpos cupressiformis, SANTALACEAE).

    Capusa cuculloides
    close-up of head
    (Photo: courtesy of David Akers, Won Wron, Victoria)

    In the last instars: the caterpillar can become yellow or reddish, especially the head and tail.

    Capusa cuculloides
    yellow form
    (Photo: courtesy of Trudi Byers, Mt Waverley, Victoria)

    The dorsal line only extends along the thorax, and a becomes a series of brown spots on the abdomenal segments, The spiracles are white with red outlines.

    Capusa cuculloides
    red form
    (Photo: courtesy of Jenny Holmes, Great Western, Victoria)

    The pupa is initially green and brown, and formed buried just under the soil. Later the pupa becomes entirelly brown.

    Capusa cuculloides
    (Photo: courtesy of David Akers, Won Wron, Victoria)

    The adult moth of this species has pale grey patterned forewings with dark veins. The hindwings are plain white.

    Capusa cuculloides
    natural posture
    (Photo: courtesy of David Akers, Won Wron, Victoria)

    The natural posture of the moth has the wings wrapped tightly around the body forming a wedge shape. The wingspan of the males is about 5 cms. The wingspan of the females is about 6 cms.

    Capusa cuculloides
    (Photo: copyright Cathy Byrne)

    Unusually for Geometrids, it folds its wings tightly along its back when at rest, making a shape that tapers to a point at the end of the abdomen.

    Capusa cuculloides
    (Photo: copyright Cathy Byrne)

    The eggs are laid in a close array. Initially they are white with a dark spot, but become darker as hatching approaches. Their shape is roughly spherical with a fine hexagonal pattern embossed on the surface.

    Capusa cuculloides
    eggs magnified
    (Photo: copyright Cathy Byrne)

    The species has been found in:

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

    Capusa cuculloides
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    Capusa cuculloides
    female, drawing by Rudolf Felder, listed as Teinocladia cuculloides
    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Heft IV, Band 2, Abtheilung 2 (1875), plate XCVI, fig. 9,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    Further reading :

    Marilyn Hewish,
    Moths of Victoria: Part 5,
    Satin Moths and Allies - GEOMETROIDEA (A)
    Entomological Society of Victoria,
    2014, pp. 5, 18-19, 30-31.

    Rudolf Felder,
    Atlas der Heterocera Sphingida. Noctuida,
    in R. Felder & A.F. Rogenhofer: Reise der Österreichischen Fregatte Novara um die Erde,
    Heft IV, Band 2, Abtheilung 2 (1875), p. 9, and also Plate 96, fig. 9.

    Peter B. McQuillan, Jan A. Forrest, David Keane, & Roger Grund,
    Caterpillars, moths, and their plants of Southern Australia,
    Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc., Adelaide (2019), pp. 4-5, 120-121.

    Catherine J. Young,
    Characterisation of the Australian Nacophorini and a Phylogeny for the Geometridae from Molecular and Morphological Data,
    Ph.D. thesis, University of Tasmania, 2003.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 1 April 2011, 15 May 2023)