Zacria vojtechi Haxaire & Melichar, 2003
MACROGLOSSINAE,   SPHINGIDAE,   BOMBYCOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Zacria vojtechi
(Photo: by Ivan Thrasch, Pilbara, Western Australia, courtesy of Mark Heath)

The Caterpillars of this species are initially green with a yellowish head and a black vertical tail spike.

Later instars develop a yellow line along each side just above the spiracles, two yellow lines on the head, and a yellow line on each side of the tail spike, which now becomes angled backwards. The true legs become red, brown, or black.

The final (fifth) instar can be green, brown or black, and the true legs become red, brown, or black. The tail spike curves backwards, and can be red or black. The lateral lines become a series of dashes, and the spiracles become tiny multicoloured eyespots.

The caterpillars have beeen found feeding on plants in RUBIACEAE, including

  • Australian Myrtle (Psydrax attenuata), and
  • Stiff Myrtle (Psydrax rigidula).

    The caterpillars grow to a length of about 5 cms. They pupate in a shallow depression or sheltered crevice in a silk cocoon camouflaged with debris. The pupa is reddish-brown, with a length of about 3 cms.

    The adult moths have grey forewings, each with a dark transverse band, and white comma mark near the middle. The hindwings are yellow, each with a broad brown margin and a large black mark at the tornus. The abdomen is plain dark grey. The male moths have a wingspan of about 4 cms. The female moths have a wingspan of about 6 cms.

    The eggs are pale green and kidney-shaped, with a length of about 1.5 mm. The eggs are usually laid singly on the underside of leaves of a foodplant.

    Zacria vojtechi
    underside
    (Photo: by Robert Young, courtesy of Ian Kitching)

    The species has been found in

  • Western Australia.


    Further reading :

    Jean Haxaire & Tomas Melichar,
    Description d’un nouveau Genre et d’une nouvelle espèce de Sphingidae d’Australie occidentale Zacria gen.n. & vojtechi sp.n. (Lepidoptera Sphingidae),
    Lambillionea, Union des Entomologistes Belges, Bruxelles,
    Volume 103 (2003), p. 284.

    Maxwell S. Moulds, James P. Tuttle and David A. Lane.
    Hawkmoths of Australia,
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Series, Volume 13 (2020),
    pp. 272-274, Plates 72, 78, and 92.


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    (written 29 January 2015, updated 8 March 2015, 8 May 2020)