Gnathothlibus australiensis Lachlan, 2004
MACROGLOSSINAE,   SPHINGIDAE,   BOMBYCOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Gnathothlibus australiensis
female
(Photo: courtesy of Paul Kay, Hidden Valley National Park, Western Australia)

Early instars of this Caterpillar are green with a long straight dark tail spike.

The third instar develops a pale line along each side, interrupted by a series of white eyespots with dark upper edges. The tail spike becomes paler, with a dark mark halfway up.

The final instar can be become brown, and the lateral lines can become partly red or dark brown. The tail spike becomes strongly curved backwards nearly into a semicircle, and ends in a black point.

The caterpillar has been found feeding on plants from MELASTOMATACEAE, including

  • (Melastoma cyanoides),
  • Singapore Rhododendron (Melastoma malabathricum), and
  • Lasiandra (Tibouchina urvilleana).

    The caterpillar grows to a length of about 7 cms. It pupates in an underground chamber or a nest of curled leaves joined with silk. The pupa is brown with a series of black spots along each side of the abdomen and along the back. The pupa has a length of about 5.5 cms.

    Gnathothlibus australiensis
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Paul Kay, Hidden Valley National Park, Western Australia)

    The adults have brown forewings with a faint pattern of light and dark markings. Females have similar markings to the males, but are darker with a purple sheen.

    The hindwings are bright yellow with dark margins. The females have broader dark margins than the males. The males are smaller than the females. The female moths have a wingspan of about 10 cms. The male moths have a wingspan of about 8 cms.

    The eggs are yellowish green and oval, with a length of about 2.5 mms. They are laid singly on the undersides of foodplant foliage.

    The species occurs in Australia in :

  • Western Australia,
  • Northern Territory, and
  • Queensland.

    Gnathothlibus australiensis
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Paul Kay, Hidden Valley National Park, Western Australia)


    Further reading :

    R.B. Lachlan,
    Description of a second species of Gnathothlibus Wallengren (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) from Australia,
    Australian Entomologist,
    Volume 31 (2004), pp. 111-118.

    Maxwell S. Moulds, James P. Tuttle and David A. Lane.
    Hawkmoths of Australia,
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Series, Volume 13 (2020),
    pp. 122-125, Plates 25, 79, 86.


    previous
    back
    caterpillar
    Australian
    Australian Butterflies
    butterflies
    Australian
    home
    Lepidoptera
    Australian
    Australian Moths
    moths
    next
    next
    caterpillar

    (written 24 March 2020, 15 May 2020)