Neola semiaurata Walker, 1855
Golden Notodontid
Don Herbison-Evans
Bruce Anstee & Stella Crossley

Neola semiaurata
(Photo: copyright Bruce Anstee, Riverstone, New South Wales)

This Caterpillar is stout, and a pink-grey colour. It is covered in sparse short hairs, and has a fleshy spike on its tail. The prolegs are black, each with a dozen pale spots.

Neola semiaurata
partial defensive display
(Photo: copyright Bruce Anstee, Riverstone, New South Wales)

It has been found feeding on various plants, including:

  • Yellow Shower ( Cassia queenslandica, CAESALPINIACEAE ),
  • Three Veined Laurel ( Cryptocarya triplinervis, LAURACEAE ),
  • Fringed Wattle ( Acacia fimbriata, MIMOSACEAE ),
  • Spider Flowers ( Grevillea, PROTEACEAE ),
  • Large-leaf Hop-bush ( Dodonaea triquetra, SAPINDACEAE ), and
  • Narrow-leaved Bottle Tree ( Brachychiton rupestris,, STERCULIACEAE ).

    and grows to a length of 6 cms.

    Neola semiaurata
    upset, showing eyespots on tail
    (Photo: courtesy of Ian McMillan, Imbil, Queensland)

    When upset: it adopts a defensive display: rearing its head and tail up in the air, and it expanding a pair of eyespots under its tail (normally hidden in folds of skin).

    Neola semiaurata
    upset, showing red appendage under head
    (Photo: courtesy of Ian McMillan, Imbil, Queensland)

    If very upset, from under the head it also everts a red appendage.

    Neola semiaurata
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    It pupates in a cocoon in the ground litter.

    Neola semiaurata

    The adult moth is rather dull compared to its caterpillar, having speckled dark grey forewings, and pale orange hindwings. It has a wingspan of about 6 cms.

    Neola semiaurata
    (Specimen: courtesy of Ian McMillan, Imbil, Queensland)

    The species is found in Eastern Australia in:

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

    Neola semiaurata
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    Neola semiaurata
    (Photo: courtesy of Paul Kay, Victoria)

    Neola semiaurata
    (Photo: courtesy of Paul Kay, Victoria)

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 17.12, pp. 36, 421.

    Pat and Mike Coupar,
    Flying Colours,
    New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 78.

    Peter Hendry & John Moss,
    New hostplants for the Notodontid moth Neola semiaurata,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 51, December 2008, pp. 21-22,
    Butterfly and Other Invertebrates Club Inc..

    Peter Marriott ,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 2,
    Tiger Moths and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (A)
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2009, pp. 12-13.

    Helen Schwencke,
    Fox Gully Bushcare Restoration -Saturday 5th February 2011,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 60 (March 2011), pp. 35-38,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Francis Walker,
    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 5 (1855), pp. 1033-1034.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 7 April 2013, 21 September 2022)