Oenosandra boisduvalii Newman, 1856
Boisduval's Autumn Moth
(one synonym : Pterygosoma squamipunctum, R.Felder, 1874)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Oenosandra boisduvalii
early instar
(Photo: courtesy of David Akers, Won Wron, Victoria)

The early instars of the Caterpillars of this species are greenish grey, with are darker line along the back separating rows of black spots, each spot with a stiff hair. The head and tail are brown, and there are a pair of shiny black plates behind the head.

Oenosandra boisduvalii
later instar
(Photo: courtesy of David Akers, Won Wron, Victoria)

Later instars become darker with a pair of faint broken wiggly pale lines along the back. The spots become white.

Oenosandra boisduvalii
close-up of head and thorax, later instar
(Photo: courtesy of David Akers, Won Wron, Victoria)

The caterpillar hides by day in groups under loose bark, and feeds nocturnally on :

  • various species of Gum Trees ( Eucalyptus, MYRTACEAE ).

    Oenosandra boisduvalii
    (Photo: courtesy of David Akers, Won Wron, Victoria)

    The caterpillar grows to a length of about 3.5 cms. It spins a cocoon in a sheltered crevice. The pupa id brown with a line of black warts along each side, and fine black lines along the edge of each developing organ.

    Oenosandra boisduvalii
    (Photo: courtesy of Nora Peters, Toolern Vale, near Melton, Victoria)

    The adult moths have a wingspan of about 5 cms. Originally, the male and female moths were thought to be different species because they look so different.

    Oenosandra boisduvalii
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The female adult moth is white with a broad black line along each forewing ending in a black bar at the base. The body has alternate black and orange bands.

    Oenosandra boisduvalii
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The male has fawn forewings speckled with black dots, and has pale hindwings.

    Oenosandra boisduvalii Oenosandra boisduvalii

    (Photos : courtesy of Lorraine Jenkins and Sam,
    Port Lincoln Junior Primary School, South Australia)

    The species is found over much of Australia, including :

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

    Oenosandra boisduvalii
    eggs (magnified)
    (Photo : courtesy of Lorraine Jenkins, Port Lincoln, South Australia)

    The eggs of this species are white and oval.

    Oenosandra boisduvalii
    long egg cluster on twig covered in hairs
    (Photo : courtesy of Steve Williams, Moths of Victoria - Part 2)

    They are laid in long clusters on a twig and covered in hairs by the female moth.

    Oenosandra boisduvalii
    Female laying eggs on a She-Oak
    (Photo: courtesy of Eileen Collins, Chiltern, Victoria)

    Oenosandra boisduvalii
    underside, tail of male
    (Photo: courtesy of Alistair & Carmen Drakes, Cook, Australian Capital Territory)

    Oenosandra boisduvalii
    underside, female
    (Photo: courtesy of John Bromilow, Mt Ainslie, Australian Capital Territory)

    Further reading :

    David Carter,
    Butterflies and Moths, Collins Eyewitness Handbooks, Sydney 1992, p. 249.

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, figs. 42.13, 42.14, pl.30.6, p. 424.

    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), p. 140.

    Peter Marriott,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 2,
    Tiger Moths and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (A)
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2009, pp. 5-7.

    Edward Newman,
    Characters of a few Australian Lepidoptera, Collected by Mr. Thomas R. Oxley,
    Transactions of the Entomological Society of London,
    New Series, Volume III, Number 8 (1856), p. 286.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths, CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 172.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 16 March 2012, 24 May 2023)