(one synonym : Epicoma tristis Hübner, )
THAUMETOPOEINAE , NOTODONTIDAE , NOCTUOIDEA
(Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Bundaberg, Queensland)
The early instars of this Caterpillar are gregarious, feeding by day. Later instars are solitary. They occasionally may be seen in procession, each following the silken thread left by the one in front.
The caterpillar is dark grey and hairy. Its head capsule is white with red sides bordered with black. The true legs are red and the prolegs are orange. There is also an orange lateral line along each side, with a row of orange spots above it. The body is speckled with yellow dots.
The caterpillar has been found feeding on the foliage of:
The caterpillars grow to a length of about 3 cms.
When the caterpillar is mature, it pupates in a sparse elliptical cocoon amongst the leaves of its foodplant.
The adults have forewings that are dark brown speckled with silver, with two or three rows of pale orange and yellow spots along the termen, and a subterminal. The central area of each forewing has an irregular dark mark with a yellow dot in the middle. The hindwings are dark brown with an orange border. The abdomen is black with orange dorsal spots and an orange anal tuft. The wingspan is about 3.5 cms.
When the moth is threatened, it is inclined to lie down and look dead, with its wings lifted high and the abdomen curved under, displaying this orange tuft.
The caterpillars are very similar to those of other Epicoma species. The only superficial difference appears to be the absence of the two long white hairs which grow behind the head of caterpillars of Epicoma species.
The species is found throughout eastern Australia, including:
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 17.18, p. 425.
Neuer oder rarer nichteuropäischer Gattungen,
Zuträge zur Sammlung exotischer Schmettlinge,
Volume 2 (1823), p. 9, No. 109, and Plate 38, figs. 217, 218.
Moths of Victoria: part 2,
Tiger Moths and their Allies - Noctuoidea (A),
Entomological Society of Victoria, 2009, pp. 8-11.
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 178.
(updated 7 April 2013, 15 December 2015)