(formerly known as Trichetra mesomelas)
THAUMETOPOEINAE, NOTODONTIDAE, NOCTUOIDEA
brown saddles, brown tufts, white lateral hairs
(Photo: courtesy of Robin Sharp, Korong Vale, Victoria)
These Caterpillars have a red or brown tuft with a brown saddle on each segment, and a pencil of dark hairs sticking up forwards from behind the head.
The caterpillars have abundant lateral hairs which can be white or yellow.
The caterpillars pupate in a cocoon covered in frass and debris, attache to the underside of a leaf of the foodplant.
The adult moths have white or brown wings, sometimes with a scattering of black speckles. For females, the head and thorax are covered in hair which is dark brown on top shading to pale brown at each side, and a black hairy abdomen.
Males have totally white hair on the head, thorax, and abdomen. The moths have a wingspan of about 4 cms. Both sexes readliy lose hair from the thorax revealing brown shiny skin.
When threatened: the moths lie down and curl the abdomen under the body. This display is perhaps 'playing dead'.
The species has been found in Australia in
Further reading :
Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
Part 4 (1855), p. 845, No. 1.
(written 12 November 2014, updated 28 November 2020)