Destolmia lineata Walker, 1855
Streaked Notodontid
(erroneously: Detolinia lineata, Lower 1892)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

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

This Caterpillar is very colourful, being mainly pale bluish-green. The head is pale mauve, with a purple line on each side, and a large purple spot above each antenna. The lines on the head join dorsally and extend along the body as a single mid-dorsal line. This is clearer on early instars. In final instars: the line is wide on the thorax, but is narrower and fainter towards the rear of the abdomen. A yellow lateral line extends from the thorax to the tail on each side of the body. A row of purple spots beneath this line give the caterpillar a striking appearance. The caterpillar has four pairs of ventral prolegs. It usually rests with its head down and its thorax raised, grasping the leaf with its prolegs. When disturbed, the tail and head ends are raised.

(Photo: by Noel McFarland, South Australian Museum,
courtesy of Denys Long, East Sussex)

Our specimens accepted leaves of:

  • Silver Princess ( Eucalyptus caesia, MYRTACEAE ),

    younger caterpillars preferring young leaves, and older caterpillars preferring mature leaves.

    Our specimens were similar in appearance to the caterpillars of Sorama bicolor, but Destolmia lineata appeared to:

  • be duller green,
  • have deeper coloured purple dots and lemon lines,
  • have more extensive purple markings, and
  • have duller spiracles.

    The caterpillar pupates in a loose cocoon between leaves.

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

    The adult moth is fawn tinged with grey. The fore wings have black zig-zag marks in the basal area, and variable black longitudinal streaks in the outer area. The moth rests with its wings held roofwise, looking rather like a moth from the family COSSIDAE.

    (Photo: courtesy of Bronwyn King, Melba, Australian Capital Territory)

    The moth, when worried, can erect quadruple pale-edged dark crests behind the head. The wingspan of the male is about 5 cms. The wingspan of the female is about 6 cms.

    (Photo: courtesy of Peter Marriott, Moths of Victoria: part 2)

    The eggs are pale green and spherical, and laid with random spacing on the leaves of a foodplant. The egg develops a rusty-brown ring after one day. The caterpillar eats its way out of the side of the egg.

    (Photo: courtesy of Steve Williams, Moths of Victoria: part 2)

    The species is found over most of mainland Australia, including:

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

    head and crests, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Katarina Christenson, Melba, Australian Capital Territory)

    (Photo: courtesy of John Bromilow, Ainslie, Australian Capital Territory)

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 42.9, pls. 17.4, 29.15, p. 420.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria: part 2,
    Tiger Moths and their Allies - Noctuoidea (A)
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2009, pp. 12-13.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 174.

    Francis Walker,
    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 5 (1855), p. 992, No. 1.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 7 April 2013, 7 June 2018, 14 November 2020, 1 July 2022)