(one synonym : Panacra lignaria Walker, 1856)
MACROGLOSSINAE, SPHINGIDAE, BOMBYCOIDEA
Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, from
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art
These Caterpillars are initially green with a long straight dark tail horn. Later instars develop one pair eyespots: one on each side of the first abdominal segment. Uniquely: the horn on the tail of later instars curves forwards.
In Australia, the caterpillars feed on plants from NYCTAGINACEAE, including
sometimes in population explosions, defoliating all their foodplants in large areas.
Overseas they have been found on other plants from NYCTAGINACEAE, as well as plants from other families such as
The caterpillar grows to a length of about 8 cms. It pupates in a shelter of leaves joined by silk, sometimes on its food plant several metres above the ground, if the ground is subject to flooding. Otherwise in ground debris some distance from it foodplant. The pupa has a length of about 5 cms.
The adult moth has brown or grey forewings, each with a variable pattern of curved stripes, and a dark spot near the middle. The front half is generally darker than the hind half. The hindwings are dark fawn with a vague dark submarginal band, and a pale hind-margin.
The forewings have a recurved wingtip, and a concave hind margin. The hindwings have a slightly recurved margin, and slightly pointed tornus. The moth has a wingspan of up to 9 cms.
The species occurs from India to Fiji, including :
and has been found in Australia in:
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 41.8, pp. 43, 410, 414.
Johan Christian Fabricius,
Entomologia systematica emendata et aucta,
Volume 3, Part 1 (1793), p. 378, No. 68.
Max S. Moulds, James P. Tuttle and David A. Lane.
Hawkmoths of Australia,
Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Series, Volume 13 (2020),
pp. 148-151, Plates 33, 77, 87.
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 201.
(updated 8 November 2011, 10 December 2020)