Aeolochroma metarhodata (Walker, [1863])
Tea-tree Emerald
(previously known as Scotosia metarhodata)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

early instar
(Photo: courtesy of Steve Williams, Moths of Victoria: Part 4)

This Caterpillar is initially thin and greenish-brown, with narrow pale areas between segments. Later instars become green with a series of thin broken wiggly pale lines along the body, and a pair of blunt yellowish horns on the head.

later instar
(Photo: courtesy of Steve Williams, Moths of Victoria: Part 4)

Mature caterpillars become stouter, and plain green, with a dark-edged pale line along each side.

mature instar, dorsal view

side view
(Photos: courtesy of David Akers, Won Wron, Victoria)

The caterpillar only has the final two pairs of prolegs, so walks in a looper fashion. The caterpillar is known to feed on various trees in MYRTACEAE including:

  • Tantoon ( Leptospermum polygalifolium ), and
  • Totem Poles ( Melaleuca decussata ).

    (Photo: courtesy of Steve Williams, Moths of Victoria: Part 4)

    The pupa has a complex pattern of light and dark brown. It is formed attached to the skin of the final catterpillar instar.

    (Photo: courtesy of Donald Hobern, Aranda, Australian Capital Territory)

    The adult moths of this species have forewings that have a complex pattern of black, white, green, and pale brown. The hindwings are green, shading to brown along the costas. The females have whip-like antennae, and the males have feathery antennae. The wingspan is about 3 cms.

    The brown coloration is mainly limited to four areas: along the costa, at the wingtip, and two areas near the middle of each forewing. Some specimens have all four brown areas, some only have the latter two near the middle of each forewing (as in Donald's specimen above). There appears to be no correlation between the number of brown areas and the sex or location. The green coloration appears to fade in older dead specimens.

    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    The underside is pale grey with a well-defined narrow zigzag submarginal line plus other ill-defined bands of black and red across each wing.

    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Steve Williams, Moths of Victoria: Part 4)

    The eggs are oval, pale brown, and minutely pitted.

    (Photo: courtesy of Katarina Christenson, Goorooyarroo, Australian Capital Territory)

    The species is found in

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

    mating couple, male on the right
    (Photo: courtesy of Steve Solomons, Bateau Bay, New South Wales)

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 11.10, p. 372.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria: Part 4,
    Emeralds and Allies - GEOMETROIDEA (B)
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2012, pp. 28-29.

    Francis Walker,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 26 (1863), pp. 1724-1725.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 137.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 28 June 2013, 8 June 2014, 12 June 2018, 28 June 2020, 30 December 2021, 29 March 2022)