Coequosa australasiae (Donovan, 1805)
Triangle Hawk Moth
(one synonym : Brachyglossa banksiae Boisduval, [1875])
Don Herbison-Evans,
Stella Crossley

early instar with very pointed head
(Photo: courtesy of Ken Jackson, Wedderburn, New South Wales)

The caterpillars of this species lack the spike on the tail that many caterpillars in SPHINGIDAE have, but the last abdominal segment is huge, and the body tapers to a tiny forked head. The caterpillars are green and covered in small warts. There is a diagonal yellow stripe on each side of each abdominal segment.

(Photo: courtesy of Christine Hartley, Eumundi, Queensland)

The caterpillars grow to a length of about 12 cms. They feed on the foliage of various species of :

  • Gum Trees ( Eucalyptus, MYRTACEAE ).

    later instar
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Jackson, Wedderburn, New South Wales)

    The pupa is dark brown and has a length of about 7 cms. It is formed in a sparse cocoon in the ground litter.

    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Jackson, Wedderburn, New South Wales)

    The adult moths have forewings that are light and dark brown with a variable wavy pattern, and hindwings that are orange with a brown trailing edge. The moths have a wingspan of about 12 cms.

    male moth dispaying anal tufts
    (Photo: courtesy of Chris Stevenson, Beecroft, New South Wales)

    The male moths have coremata which display tufts of orange hair, probably dispersing pheromones to attract females.

    close-up of coremata tufts
    (Photo: courtesy of Dianne Clarke, Mapleton, Queensland)

    The species is found over much of Australia, including:

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

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

    The undersides are brown with a submarginal arc of dark dots on each wing, and a dark mark halfway long each forewing costa.

    (Photo: courtesy of Dianne Clarke, Mapleton, Queensland)

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 41.5, p. 412.

    Edward Donovan,
    General Illustration of Entomology,
    An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Otaheite and other Islands in the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans,
    London (1803), Part 1, pp. 150, 151.

    H.E. Groth,
    The life history of Metamimas australasiae Donovan (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae),
    The Australian Entomologist,
    Volume 22, Part 3 (September 1995), pp. 91-95.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 1,
    Silk Moths and Allies - BOMBYCOIDEA
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2008, pp. 30-31.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 207.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 25 January 2010, 19 March 2017)