Agrius godarti (W.S. Macleay, [1826] )
Godart's Hawk Moth
(one synonym : Sphinx distincta Lucas, 1891)
Don Herbison-Evans,
Stella Crossley

Agrius godarti
(Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island, Queensland)

The Caterpillars of this species are intially pale green with a short blunt black tailhorn, and develop a dark dorsal line, and a pair of pale yellow sub-dorsal lines.

Late instars develop a brown or black dorsal line, or become brown or black. They develop a series of diagonal pale yellow lines on the side of each abdominal segment, and orange spiracles, and a white zigzag line along each side under the spiracles. The tail horn becomes reddish, and curves backwards.

The caterpillars have been found feeding on

  • Rolypoly ( Salsola australis, CHENOPODIACEAE ), and
  • Australian Bindweed ( Convolvulus erubescens, CONVOLVULACEAE ).

    The caterpillars grow to a length of up to 10 cms. The caterpillar pupates in cell underground, having burrowed down to a depth of about 15 cms. The pupa has a short curled section containing the developing haustellum. The pupa has a length of about 4.5 cms.

    The adult moths have fawn forewings with a complex pattern of light and dark markings. Each forewing also has a small white dot with a black outline near the centre. The hind wings are buff with three broken dark bands parallel to the margin. The abdomen is banded with light and dark shades of grey, although the abdominal hairy scales are easily lost in flight. The moths have a wingspan of about 9 cms.

    Agrius godarti
    (Photo: copyright of Uwe Path, Alice Springs, Northern Territory)

    The species is found over much of inland Australia, including:

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

    Agrius godarti
    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 41.2, 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.

    William Sharp Macleay,
    Annulosa. Catalogue of Insects, collected by Captain King, R.N.,
    Voume 2, Appendix B (15 April 1826), p. 464.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 1,
    Silk Moths and Allies - BOMBYCOIDEA
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2008, pp. 28-29.

    Max S. Moulds, James P. Tuttle and David A. Lane.
    Hawkmoths of Australia,
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Series, Volume 13 (2020),
    pp.62-65, Plates 8, 73, 84.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 16 September 2010, 1 February 2014, 9 December 2020)