Australian Striped Hawk Moth
(one synonym : Phryxus australasiae Tutt, 1904)
MACROGLOSSINAE, SPHINGIDAE, BOMBYCOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of Bev Bryceson, Oodnadatta Track, South Australia)
These Caterpillars range in colour from green to black. They have eyespots along the sides joined by a pale line, and another pale line down the back.
The caterpillars have a rough black but harmless spike on the tail. They have a pair of pale arcs on the last segment below the spike. The caterpillars are very gregarious, sometimes living in dense colonies.
The caterpillars have been reported to feed on :
The caterpillars were a food source for Aborigines. Aborigines starved the caterpillars for a day or two before roastng them. The cooked larvae were said to have a pleasant savoury taste and could be stored for a long time.
The caterpillars burrow into the soil to pupate.
The adult moth has brown forewings with white markings, and brown hindwings, each with a broad diagonal pink stripe. The wingspan is about 6 cms.
The species is found all over mainland Australia, including:
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 16.8, p. 414.
Thomas P. Lucas,
On 34 new species of Australian Lepidoptera, with additional localities,
Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland,
Volume 8 (1892), pp. 73-74.
Peter B. McQuillan, Jan A. Forrest, David Keane, & Roger Grund,
Caterpillars, moths, and their plants of Southern Australia,
Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc., Adelaide (2019), pp. 4-5, 101.
Moths of Victoria - Part 1,
Silk Moths and Allies - BOMBYCOIDEA,
Entomological Society of Victoria, 2008, pp. 28-29.
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 202.
Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
A Guide to Australian Moths,
CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 167.
(updated 7 April 2013, 6 April 2016)