General Description

Forewings are brownish orange with pink wingtips and have a prominent central eyespot. Between the eyespot and the outer edge of the forewing there is a pale crosswise line. The line is well removed from the eyespot. The hindwings are smaller but similarly marked, though the eyespot is double the size and even more prominent. Males have feathery antennae. Females are larger than the males and have broader wings. Wingspan ranges from 11 cm to 18 cm. Caterpillars dark in early stage becoming green as they grow. This species can be separated from the similar, though smaller, Emperor Gum Moth where the crosswise line on the forewing usually just touches the eyespot.

Biology

The caterpillars of the Helena Gum Moth eat a variety of eucalypt species and they have also been recorded on Silver Birch. There are two generations each year in Victoria though some individuals have been known to remain in the cocoons for at least two years.

Distribution

Southern mainland Australia and Tasmania. In Victoria it is found wherever there are suitable eucalypts.

Habitat

The species is found in eucalypt forests and woodlands in both dry and wet country.

More Information