Theretra inornata (Walker, 1865)
(one synonym : Chaerocampa pallida Miskin, 1891)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

(Specimen : courtesy of Oxford University Natural History Museum)

The early instars of these Caterpillars are green with a long black forward curving tail spike. Middle instars develop round blue eye-spots on each side of the first two abdominal segments, and the tail spike becomes short, straight, and red with a black tip.

The last two instars may stay green or become a patchy or speckled brown. All forms develop a pale line with a dark dorsal edge, extending along each side from the eyespots to the tail spike. The tail spike becomes very short, brown, and curving backwards.

The caterpillars have been found feeding on the foliage of various plants in VITACEAE, including:

  • Shrubby Vine (Ampelocissus frutescens),
  • Kangaroo Vine (Cissus antarctica), and
  • Pepper Vine (Clematicissus opaca).

    The caterpillar grows to a length of about 8 cms. It pupates in a cocoon incorporating debris on the ground. The pupa is mottled brown, with a black spot on the side of each segment, and a vague dark line along the back. The pupa has a length of about 4.5 cms.

    The adult moths of this species are brown with an indistinct diagonal line along each forewing. The hindwings are darker, shading to paler brown at the margins. The wingspan is about 8 cms.

    (Specimen : courtesy of Oxford University Natural History Museum)

    The eggs are pale green, and oval, with a length of about 1.5 mms. The eggs are laid on the underside of leaves of a foodplant

    The species is found in

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

    Further reading:

    William Henry Miskin,
    A Revision of Australian Lepidoptera,
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland,
    Volume 8, Part 1 (1891), pp. 18-19, No. 31.

    Maxwell S. Moulds, James P. Tuttle and David A. Lane.
    Hawkmoths of Australia,
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Series, Volume 13 (2020),
    pp. 244-247, Plates 63, 81, 91.

    Francis Walker,
    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 31 (1864), p. 31.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 9 December 2005, 26 February 2015, 13 December 2020)