Don Herbison-Evans (
(Photo: courtesy of Jenny Holmes, Victoria)
Initially, these caterpillars are pale green. There is small harmless horn on the tail which is black at the base and has a pale tip. They feed openly by day on their foodplants, which include :
Despite being apparently nearly omnivorous, they seem disinclined to attack some plants, such as
Later instars of the caterpillars develop pairs of subdorsal eyespots on the abdominal segments which degenerate along the body. The eyespots on the first segment are black with some white dots. The eyespots on the second segment are brown. The others are white. The head and thorax become narrower than the abdomen.
Mature Caterpillars usually become brown, with a pair of broken pale yellow subdorsal lines outlined in black along the body. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 7 cms.
The caterpillar pupates near the foot of its foodplant in a loose cocoon which it covers with leaves and other debris.
The moths have a wingspan of up to 7 cm. The body is brown and cigar-shaped. The forewings are brown, and the hind wings are red edged with black. The normal resting posture has the hind wings covered. They are revealed if the moth is disturbed, as it opens its wings for flight.
Underneath, the roles of the wings are reversed. The undersides of the forewings are red, and of the hindwings are brown.
The eggs are pale green, spherical, and laid in small groups.
The species is found over the western Pacific, including
and the whole of Australia, including
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 16.10, pp. 414-415.
Pat and Mike Coupar,
Flying Colours, New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 87.
Moths of Victoria - Part 1
Silk Moths and Allies - BOMBYCOIDEA,
Entomological Society of Victoria, 2008, pp. 28-31.
(updated 7 February 2013, 2 October 2013, 7 October 2013)