Nephele subvaria (Walker, 1856)
(one synonym : Zonilia metapyrrha Walker, 1856)
MACROGLOSSINAE ,   SPHINGIDAE ,   BOMBYCOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Nephele subvaria
(Photo: courtesy of Ian Common, from Moths of Australia)

The Caterpillars of this species are grey with a strong horn on the tail, and some white diagonal stripes on the sides. The caterpillars feed on:

  • Currant Bush ( Carissa spinarum, APOCYNACEAE ).

    Nephele subvaria
    male
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The adult moths have brown forewings. The hindwings may be either brown or red. The moths have a wingspan of about 6 cms. Male moths usually have white spots near the middle of each forewing, which are lacking in the females.

    Nephele subvaria
    male, showing retinaculum and frenulum (inset)
    (Photo: courtesy of John Stumm, Brisbane, Queensland)

    The wing coupling mechanism of the male moth, that holds the hind wing to the forewing during flight, is a hook-like tubercle called the 'retinaculum' near the lower margin of each forewing, and a bristle at the base of the hindwing called the 'frenulum'. Females have a similar device but the single bristle is replaced by a cluster of very fine bristles and the retinculum is not as obvious. This difference is a good way of determining the sex of adult hawk moths.

    The species has been found in :

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


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 41.7, pl. 29.6, p. 413.

    Peter Hendry,
    Lepidoptera legacy of the summer that was 2010/11,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 61 (June 2011), pp. 18-20,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 203.

    Francis Walker,
    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera. Sphingidae,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 8 (1856), p. 196.


    previous
    back
    caterpillar
    Australian
    Australian Butterflies
    butterflies
    Australian
    home
    caterpillars
    Australian
    Australian Moths
    moths
    next
    next
    caterpillar

    (updated 22 April 2013, 28 February 2016)