Theretra tryoni (Miskin, 1891)
Tryon's Hawkmoth
(one synonym : Theretra herrichii Kirby, 1892)
MACROGLOSSINAE ,   SPHINGIDAE ,   BOMBYCOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


early instar
(Photo: courtesy of Tom and David Sleep, Queensland)

This Caterpillar is initially green with blue-green eyespots ringed with yellow outlined in brown, one on each side of each of the first and second abdominal segments. Initially the caterpillar has a pale green straight tail spike.


(Photo: courtesy of Jenny Whiting, Sydney, New South Wales)

In later instars, the tail spike becomes red.


tail
(Photo: courtesy of Rhiannon Kuchel, Sydney, New South Wales)

Mature instars often become brown, and the tail spike becomes black with a white tip and curved backwards.


(Photo: courtesy of Rhiannon Kuchel, Sydney, New South Wales)

This species is the only one in SPHINGIDAE with caterpillars that have two equally sized eye spots each side of the abdomen.


head, close-up
(Photo: courtesy of Rhiannon Kuchel, Sydney, New South Wales)

The caterpillars have been found feeding on various species of ARACEAE, including :

  • Cunjevoi ( Alocasia brisbanensis ),
  • Elephants Ear ( Alocasia macrorrhizos ),
  • Taro ( Colocasia esculenta ), and
  • Arum Lily ( Zantedeschia aethiopica ).


    (Photo: courtesy of Tom and David Sleep, Queensland)

    The pupa is rather long and thin. It is mottled brown with dark rings around the abdominal segments.


    (Photo: courtesy of Tom and David Sleep, Queensland)

    The adult moths of this species are plain brown, with a few faint dark dots. The moths have a wingspan of about 7 cms.


    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The abdomen of the adult moths has hardly any lateral striation which distinguishes them from the very similar species Theretra latreillei. The adults may be nearly indistinguishable, but of course the Caterpillars are easily distinguished, having two eyespots each side, whereas Theretra latreillei caterpillars have only one.


    (Photo: courtesy of Tom and David Sleep, Queensland)

    The eggs are spherical and off-white. They are laid singly on the upper surface of leaves of a foodplant.

    The species may be found in:

  • Indonesia,
  • New Guinea,

    and also in Australia through

  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.


    (Photo :courtesy of Rhiannon Kuchel, Sydney, New South Wales)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 42.2, pl. 29.13, pp. 415-416.

    William Henry Miskin,
    A Revision of the Australian Sphingidae,
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland,
    Volume 8, Part 1 (1891), pp. 17-18, No. 28.


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    (updated 8 September 2011, 15 December 2013, 4 March 2015)