Epicoma protrahens (T.P. Lucas, 1890)
(previously known as : Teara protrahens)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Epicoma protrahens
(Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Bundaberg, Queensland)

These Caterpillars are communal at first, living in a silken web on their food plant. They have been found on various plants from MYRTACEAE including:

  • Prickly Bottlebrush ( Callistemon brachyandrus ), and
  • Paperbarks ( Melaleuca species ).

    Epicoma protrahens
    (Photo: courtesy of Harold MacQueen, Goodna, Queensland)

    Later instars separate and feed in solitude. They are yellow and hairy, with a dorsal black spot on each of the first two and last three abdominal segments, and a short brown tussock on each abdominal segments. They have orange legs and a brown head.

    Epicoma protrahens
    Shining Bronze-Cuckoo loves Epicoma protrahens caterpillars
    (Photo : courtesy of Ged Tranter, Brisbane, Queensland)

    The caterpillars have been observed being predated by a Shining Bronze-Cuckoo, but most caterpillars escaped by dropping on silk threads.

    The caterpillars become communal again at pupation time. They pupate in adjacent cocoons, between leaves of the food plant.

    Epicoma protrahens

    The adult moths have forewings that are dark brown speckled with silver flecks, with a large pale yellow spot near the centre, a broken yellow line along the termen and costa, and a subterminal row of cream spots.

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

    The moths have a wingspan of about 2.5 cms.

    Epicoma protrahens
    (Photo: courtesy of Harold MacQueen, Goodna, Queensland)

    The species has been found in

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • Victoria.

    Epicoma protrahens
    (Photo: courtesy of Gary Brooks, Tinnanbar, Queensland)

    Further reading :

    Thomas P. Lucas,
    On Queensland and other Australian Macro-Lepidoptera, with Localities and Descriptions of new Species,
    Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales,
    Series 2, Volume 4, Part 4 (1890), pp. 1090.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 179.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 173.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 3 January 2012, 4 June 2018, 21 March 2021)