Daphnis protrudens C. Felder & R. Felder, 1874
(one synonym : Cherocampa neriastri Boisduval, 1875)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Daphnis protrudens
(Photo: courtesy of Andrew MacDonald, Finch Hatton, Queensland)

The caterpillars of this species are initially green with a long thin dark tail spike. Later instars develop a pale line along each side above the spiracles, edged with groups of black-circled bluish white spots, and red true legs. The antipenultimate instar develops some larger blueish spots each side of the thorax. The last instar can be green or pale brown, with a purpleish lower edge to the lateral pale lines, an a strong tapering reddish backward-curving horn on the tail.

The caterpillars have been found feeding on:

  • Swizzle Bush ( Timonius timon, RUBIACEAE ).

    The caterpillars grow to a length of about 6 cms. They pupate in a loose cocooon amongst the ground debris. The pupa is brown with a dark dorsal line, and a partial dark ventral line. The pupa has a length of about 5 cms.

    Daphnis protrudens
    (Photo: courtesy of Paul Kay, Queensland)

    The adult moths have wings with a bold pattern of pale and dark brown. The forewings each have a dark central transverse band which has a finger-like extension in the middle pointing to the middle of the margin. There is a contrasting pair of dark brown and white bands across the first abdominal segment. The wingspan is about 10 cms.

    The species occurs as several subspecies across south-east Asia, including

  • Sulawesi,

    and the subspecies protrudens in

  • New Guinea, and
  • Solomons,

    as well as in Australia in:

  • Queensland.

    Daphnis protrudens
    drawing by Rudolf Felder, listed as Daphnis protrudens,
    Zoologischer Theil, Lepidoptera, Reise der Oesterreichischen Fregatte Novara
    Abtheilung 2, Band 2 (1864), Plate 76, figure 7,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    Further reading:

    Rudolf Felder,
    Zoologischer Theil, Lepidoptera,
    Reise der Oesterreichischen Fregatte Novara um die Erde in den Jahren 1857, 1858, 1859 unter den Befehlen des Commodore B. von Wullerstorf-Urbair,
    Abtheilung 2, Band 2 (1864), Plate 76, figure 7.

    Maxwell S. Moulds, James P. Tuttle and David A. Lane.
    Hawkmoths of Australia,
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Series, Volume 13 (2020),
    pp. 115-118, Plates 23, 79, and 84.

    Buck Richardson,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2008, p. 35.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 199.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 168.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 9 December 2005, 24 June 2010, 19 September 2015, 16 JUly 2021)