Sorama bicolor Walker, 1855
Two-coloured Notodontid
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

(Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

This Caterpillar is very colourful, being mainly bluish green, with a pair of lemon lines extending along most of the back. The thorax has a mid-dorsal purple streak, and there are purple dots below the lemon lateral lines, one per segment. The spiracles are bright orange and ringed with grey and purple. The head is mainly green, except the face is mauve, and there is a purple patch above each antenna. The mouth parts are pink, and include a pair of fleshy flaps which protrude forward. The caterpillar is tapered at both ends. It is also especially sensitive to light, and will turn away from it.

(Photo: courtesy of Steven Dodge, Nowra, New South Wales)

The caterpillar feeds on various species of:

  • Gum Trees ( Eucalyptus, MYRTACEAE ),

    and grows to a length of 6 cms.

    Our specimens were similar in appearance to the caterpillars of Destolmia lineata, but Sorama bicolor appeared to:

  • be brighter green,
  • have paler coloured purple dots and lemon lines,
  • have less extensive purple markings, and
  • have brighter spiracles.

    (Photo: courtesy of Steven Dodge, Nowra, New South Wales)

    Caterpillars of Sorama bicolor born in March in Melbourne pupated about 45 days later. They pupated in a cocoon in the ground litter in a sparse cocoon. In Melbourne in May, the pupal duration was from 26 to 35 days.

    Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, from
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art

    The adult moth has a hairy body with blue-black scales on the thorax, rusty brown forewings, and plain cream hind wings. The female has a wingspan of about 6 cms, and the male about 4 cms.

    (Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

    The species is found over much of Australia, including:

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

    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The caterpillar starts as a green dome-shaped egg laid on the surface of a foodplant leaf or nearby branch. The eggs have a diameter of about 1mm. They develop a brown ring after a few days.

    eggs, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Elaine McDonald, Nicholls Rivulet, Tasmania)

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 17.16, p. 421.

    Pat and Mike Coupar,
    Flying Colours,
    New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 79.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria: part 2,
    Tiger Moths and their Allies - Noctuoidea (A)
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2009, pp. 8-9, 12-13.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 176.

    Francis Walker,
    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 5 (1855), p. 1034.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 30 August 2013, 11 July 2019, 16 September 2020)