Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Caterpillar - Helena Gum Moth

You may remember the Helena Gum Moth I posted here recently. If not, then you can see the photos of the moth and it's eggs by clicking here. I have had a dozen or so of these moths in the backyard since then but all have been males except that first one. Fortunately I was able to get some eggs from her.

On the nights of the 19th and 20th October she laid 108 eggs. Most of these hatched 14 days later on the 2nd and 3rd of November. I had hoped to get a shot of them hatching but they seemed to do so overnight. Whether this is normal for them or just coincidence I cannot say. Certainly I've had eggs of many other species which have hatched during the day.

I've been feeding them on Eucalyptus pauciflora which is not a local species. At this stage they have shown a strong preference for young leaves.

The last time I tried to rear these I only got them to second instar before they succumbed to a fungal attack. This time I've put them in a larger rearing cage with better ventilation so hopefully I'll be successful this time round.

(Click on Photo to Enlarge)
Helena Gum Moth - Opodiphthera helena - 1st instar larvae


  1. Takes me back to my younger days Mosura, I used to keep gum moths when I was a kid. I used to feed them on E. ficifolia leaves.

  2. Thanks Duncan - Fun for young and old as the saying goes.

  3. Best of luck with the little grubs - sorry caterpillars. I imagine they will grow into large caterpillars, requiring lots of leaves, and space.
    I remember Emperor Gum Moths, from my childhood in Melbourne. Presumably these will be something similar - having seen your splendid

  4. Thanks Denis - Yes they will become very large caterpillars. I'll feed them all just now but if I have a good survival rate I will end up releasing some of them. I have 75 last I counted.