Coenotes eremophilae (T.P. Lucas, 1891)
(one synonym : Protoparce minimus Miskin, 1891)
Don Herbison-Evans,
Stella Crossley

Coenotes eremophilae
(Photo: courtesy of Barb Gilfedder, Central Australia)

The Caterpillars of this species are basically grey with pale speckles, and vary in colour from blueish to yellowish to blackish.

Coenotes eremophilae
(Photo: courtesy of John Collins, Kimberley, Western Australia)

The caterpillars have a red or white stripe along each side, a row of red, orange or yellow spiracles along each side, and sometimes a red or yellow stripe along the back. On the tail, they have an entirely black curved horn. The head and prothorax have black and white bands.

Coenotes eremophilae
(Photo: courtesy of Jacqueline de Vaan, Kata Tjuta, Northern Territory)

The caterpillars feed for preference on plants from the familiy MYOPORACEAE such as :

  • Bowman's Fuchsia Bush ( Eremophila bowmanii ),
  • Rock Fuchsia Bush ( Eremophila freelingii ),
  • Warty Fuchsia Bush, ( Eremophila latrobei ),
  • Weeping Emu Bush, ( Eremophila longifolia ),
  • Turpentine Bush ( Eremophila sturtii ),
  • Budda ( Eremophila mitchellii ),
  • Ellangowan ( Myoporum deserti ), and
  • Boobialla ( Myoporum montanum ),

    but also have been found on a variety of other plants, including :

  • Currant Bush ( Carissa spinarum, APOCYNACEAE ),
  • Helicopter Tree ( Gyrocarpus americanus, HERNANDIACEAE ),
  • Lolly Bush ( Clerodendrum floribundum, LAMIACEAE ),
  • Yellow Hibiscus ( Hibiscus panduriformis, MALVACEAE ),
  • Mimosa Bush ( Acacia farnesitana, MIMOSACEAE ),
  • Sesame ( Sesamum indicum, PEDALIACEAE ),
  • Sweet Quandong ( Santalum acuminatum, SANTALACEAE ), and
  • Corkwood ( Duboisia myoporoides , SOLANACEAE ).

    Coenotes eremophilae
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The adult moths have very boring fawn wings, and a pattern of diagonal and transverse dark marks on the abdomen. They have a wingspan of about 6 cms.

    The species is found over the inland northern half of Australia, including:

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

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 40.7, p. 411.

    Thomas P. Lucas,
    Butterflies and Moths,
    Descriptions of two new Butterflies and nine new Sphingidae or Hawk moths found in Queensland,
    The Queenslander (Newspaper),
    Saturday 9 May 1891, p. 894.

    Thomas P. Lucas,
    On Queensland and other Australian Lepidoptera, with Descriptions of new Species,
    Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales,
    Series 2, Volume 6 (1892), pp. 277-278.

    William Henry Miskin,
    A Revision of Australian Sphingidae,
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland,
    Volume 8, Part 1 (1891), p. 24, No. 40.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 2 December 2009, 1 November 2013, 23 December 2014, 23 February 2015)