(one synonym : Theretra herrichii Kirby, 1892)
MACROGLOSSINAE, SPHINGIDAE, BOMBYCOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of Tom and David Sleep, Queensland)
This Caterpillar is initially green with a black straight tail spike.
Later instars develop four blue-green eyespots, each ringed with yellow, and outlined in brown, one on each side of each of the first and of the second abdominal segments. The tail spike becomes reddish-brown.
Mature instars often become brown, and the tail spike becomes black with a pale tip and curved backwards.
This species is the only one in SPHINGIDAE with caterpillars that have two equally sized eye spots on each side of the abdomen.
The caterpillars have been found feeding on various species of ARACEAE, including :
The caterpillars feed at night, and hide during the day. By day: early instars rest lying along the midrib under a leaf. Late instars rest along a stem by a leaf axil with the head pointing downwards. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 9 cms.
The pupa is rather slender, with a length of about 6 cms. It is mottled brown with dark rings around the abdominal segments. Pupation occurs in a camouflaged cocoon amongst the surface leaf litter.
The adult moths of this species have plain brown forewings, each with some faint darker lines, a submarginal line of faint dark dots, and a single black dot near the middle of the costa. The moths have a wingspan of about 7 cms.
The abdomen of the adult moths has hardly any lateral striation which distinguishes them from the very similar species Theretra latreillii. The adults may be nearly indistinguishable, but the caterpillars are easily distinguished, having two eyespots each side, whereas Theretra latreillii caterpillars have only one.
The eggs are oval and off-white, with a length of about 1.6 mm. They are laid singly on the under surface of leaves of a foodplant.
The species may be found in:
and also in Australia through
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.
Maxwell S. Moulds, James P. Tuttle and David A. Lane.
Hawkmoths of Australia,
Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Series, Volume 13 (2020),
pp. 266-269, Plates 70, 81, 92.
(updated 8 September 2011, 15 December 2013, 4 March 2015, 27 October 2020)