Discophlebia catocalina R. Felder, 1874
Yellow-tailed Stub Moth
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Discophlebia catocalina
(Photo: by David Carter, Natural History Museum, London, courtesy of Denys Long, East Sussex)

This Caterpillar is grey, with a dark dorsal line, and dark marks enclosing a red or orange spot on the shoulders of each segment. It is covered in sparse long white hairs, which can cause urticaria. The thorax and head are brown, and the first and last abdominal segments are dark. When young, the caterpillars are gregarious. They feed on the older leaves of :

  • various species of Gum Trees ( Eucalyptus, MYRTACEAE ).

    Discophlebia catocalina
    (Photo: courtesy of Peter Marriott, Moths of Victoria - Part 2,)

    These medium-sized moths seem to mimic a piece of a branch where a stick has broken off.

    Discophlebia catocalina
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The wings of the moth are grey, with a broad white margin on each hindwing. The head is grey and the body has a tuft of yellow hairs on the tail. The wingspan of the female moths is about 6 cms. The wingspan of the male moths is about 4 cms.

    Discophlebia catocalina
    female, drawing by Rudolf Felder,

    Reise der Osterreichischen Fregatte Novara,
    Band 2, Abtheilung 2 (1875), Plate XCVI, fig. 8,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    The eggs are a translucent white, and spherical with ribs. The are laid in a small array on a leaf of a foodplant.

    Discophlebia catocalina
    (Photo: courtesy of Steve Williams, Moths of Victoria - Part 2,)

    The species is found over much of Australia, including:

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

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 42.12, pl. 30.5, p. 424.

    Rudolf Felder,
    Atlas der Heterocera Sphingida. Noctuida,
    in R. Felder & A.F. Rogenhofer: Reise der Österreichischen Fregatte Novara um die Erde,
    Heft IV, V, Band 2, Abtheilung 2 (1875), p. 9, and also Plate 96, fig. 8.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 2,
    Tiger Moths and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (A)
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2009, pp. 6-7.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 27 January 2010, 24 May 2023)