Eupanacra splendens (Rothschild, 1894)
(one synonym : Panacra salomonis Clark, 1920)
Don Herbison-Evans,
Stella Crossley

Eupanacra splendens
(Photo: courtesy of Sandra Cathcart, Kuluin, Queensland)

The young Caterpillars of this species are green, and develop fawn markings. The last instar can become fawn with wavy markings and green patches. The caterpillars have an enlarged flap of skin on the thorax. The last abdominal segment is abruptly flat, and carries a strong green and grey backward curving horn that ends in an abrupt point, but is quite harmless.

Eupanacra splendens
(Photo: courtesy of Byron Roberts, Maroochydore, Queensland)

When the caterpillar is disturbed, the flap of skin on the thorax is stretched out revealing a pair of eyespots on the first abdominal segment. Often, a white line runs from the head to each eyespot.

Eupanacra splendens
head magnified
(Photo: courtesy of Anthony Hearsey and Alice Brown, Brisbane, Queensland)

The caterpillars have been found feeding on plants in ARACEAE, including :

  • Pheasant's Tail ( Anthurium schlechtendalii ),
  • Devil's Ivy ( Epipremnum aureum ),
  • Fruit Salad Plant ( Monstera deliciosa ),
  • Needle Berry ( Raphidophora australasica ), and
  • Peace Lily ( Spathiphyllum wallisii).

    Eupanacra splendens
    (Photo: courtesy of Tali Fairholm, Maroochydore, Queensland)

    The caterpillars can grow to a length of about 9 cms. The pupa is mottled grey, and formed amongst the roots of its foodplant, in a messy flimsy cocoon. The pupa is mottled brown and green.. The pupa has a length of about 5 cms.

    Eupanacra splendens
    (Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland)

    The adult moths have patchy greenish or purplish brown forewings each with squiggly dark lines, and sometimes an angular white patch and two white chevrons by the wingtip. The forewing margins consist of two concave curves meeting at a cusp about halfway along. The hindwings are dark brown, crossed by a broad orange band. The moths have a wingspan of about 7 cms.

    Eupanacra splendens
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Thomason, Brisbane, Queensland)

    In its resting posture: the moth curves its abdomen under its body. Then one may suspect it is the face of a fearsome monster, with the knobs each side of the thorax as eyes, the thorax as the nose, and the lateral bands on the abdomen as a mouth with teeth. Maybe this deters predators, or maybe only amuses imaginative humans.

    Eupanacra splendens
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The eggs are off-white and spherical with a diameter of about 2 mms.

    The species is found in the south-west Pacific, including

  • Papua, and
  • Solomons,

    as well as in Australia in

  • Queensland.

    Eupanacra splendens
    (Photo: courtesy of Graeme Cocks, Townsville, Queensland)

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 16.13, p. 413.

    Maxwell S. Moulds, James P. Tuttle and David A. Lane.
    Hawkmoths of Australia,
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Series, Volume 13 (2020),
    pp. 118-121, Plates 24, 77, 86.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 197.

    Lionel Walter Rothschild,
    Notes on Sphingidae, with descriptions of new species,
    Novitates Zoologicae,
    Volume 1, Number 1 (1894), p. 82, and also Plate 5, fig. 15.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 22 April 2013, 24 June 2018, 22 April 2019, 9 December 2020)