Oenochroma vinaria Guenée, 1857
Pink Bellied Moth or Hakea Wine Moth
(one synonym : Monoctenia decora Walker, 1869)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Oenochroma vinaria
brown and black form
(Photo: courtesy of Bruce Anstee, Riverstone, New South Wales)

These Caterpillars are brown with a broad black band along the back, or green.

Oenochroma vinaria
green form
(Photo: courtesy of David Douglass-Martin, Encounter Bay, South Australia)

Both forms have a scattering of white dots, and have pairs of pale spots on abdominal segments one, three, and eight. Small horns project from these. The Caterpillars have only two pairs of ventral prolegs.

Oenochroma vinaria
(Photo: courtesy of David Nelson, Sydney, New South Wales)

When disturbed, the caterpillar curls the head under the body exposing the horns and markings on the thorax and the start of the abdomen.

Oenochroma vinaria
(Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

The caterpillars feed on various members of the plant family PROTEACEAE including :

  • Spider Flowers ( Grevillea ),
  • Needlewood ( Hakea ), and
  • Candle Flowers ( Banksia ).

    The caterpillars grow to a length of about 4 cms.

    Oenochroma vinaria
    (Photo: courtesy of Susan Foyle, Sydney)

    The pupa is brown, and formed in a loose white cocoon on the foodplant. The pupal stage can be as short as 3 weeks in summer.

    Oenochroma vinaria
    (Photos: courtesy of Evan Harris, Ipswich, Queensland,)

    The general wing colour of the adult moths varies: at one extreme some are pink and at the other some are brown. The body also varies from pink to brown. The moths all have a brown or yellow line across the upper surface of each wing. Also each forewing has a recurved wingtip, and a small transparent spot surrounded by an irregular dark mark on both the upper and under surfaces.

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

    In its resting pose, the lines are aligned and resemble the vein in a leaf.

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

    Underneath, there is also a large dark purple blotch under each forewing, and a dark line under each hindwing. The moths have a wingspan of 5 to 7 cms.

    Oenochroma vinaria
    (Photo: courtesy of Carol Buchanan, Bayldon, New South Wales)

    A female moth will lay over 100 eggs, which are pale green and oval.

    Oenochroma vinaria
    (Photo: courtesy of John Stumm)

    Oenochroma vinaria
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Cathy Byrne)

    The species is found over most of Australia, including

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

    The species has recently been the subject of DNA analysis, and is now thought to be two species. One is still called Oencochroma vinaria. The other has been named Oenochroma barcodificata Hausmann, 2009. The two species look superficially similar.

    Oenochroma vinaria Oenochroma vinaria
    (Photos: courtesy of John Thompson, Melbourne, Victoria)

    Further reading :

    David Carter,
    Butterflies and Moths,
    Collins Eyewitness Handbooks, Sydney 1992, p. 193.

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 10.12, p. 368.

    Pat and Mike Coupar,
    Flying Colours,
    New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 48.

    Achille Guenée,
    in Boisduval & Guenée: Uranides et Phalénites,
    Histoire naturelle des insectes; spécies général des lépidoptères,
    Volume 9 (1857), p. 185, No. 287, and also Plate 7, Fig. 2.

    Peter B. McQuillan, Jan A. Forrest, David Keane, & Roger Grund,
    Caterpillars, moths, and their plants of Southern Australia,
    Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc., Adelaide (2019), pp. 134-135.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria: Part 4,
    Emeralds and Allies - GEOMETROIDEA (B)
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2013, pp. 10-11.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 143.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 17 June 2013, 4 June 2019, 15 July 2020)