Alice Springs Desert Park

ASDP Butterflies & MothsBanksia Moth – Caterpillar Caper White Butterfly Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus ssp sthenelus) Day Flying Moth / Mistletoe Moth Heliotrope Moth (Utetheisa pulchelloides) Noctuinae (Caterpillar) Processionary Caterpillar

The Comocrus behri is a striking looking caterpillar whose adult form is known as the Day Flying Moth or the Mistletoe Moth. They are found across mainland Australia.

With a jet black body, white stripes and small white spots, this caterpillar striking in appearance. The body of the caterpillar (like all insects) is divided into 3 parts, the head, thorax, and abdomen. When disturbed the caterpillar will rear up, lifting its head and thorax.

The caterpillar have hairs all over their bodies called setae, which is used to sense touch. They have three pairs of legs located on its thoracic segments, which are retained when changing into the adult insect. Although it appears to have more then six legs, the others are known as “false legs”, called prolegs. There are five pairs of prolegs. that help the caterpillar to move, cling and climb onto plants.

The ocelli (simple eyes that detect light) are located on the head, as well as the mouth and jaws (mandibles).

The Comocrus behri feed on the mistletoe plants (Loranthaceae). The adult moths have black wings with white markings that are in a straight and zig zag patterns. It has a black abdomen on top and orange stripes underneath, with a scarlet tuft on the tail. The wingspan is up to 5 cm. The moth are often seen during the day flying around mistletoe plants that grow on Casuarina and Eucalyptus species.

Mistletoe Moth (Comocrus behri), Alice Springs Desert Park NT
Mating Mistletoe Moth (Comocrus behri), Alice Springs Desert Park NT

Images © Ausemade PL

Check out Insects > Moths > Day Flying Moth (Comocrus behri).


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Lepidoptera
  • Family: Noctuidae
  • Genus: Comocrus
  • Species: Comocrus behri

ASDP Butterflies & MothsBanksia Moth – Caterpillar Caper White Butterfly Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus ssp sthenelus) Day Flying Moth / Mistletoe Moth Heliotrope Moth (Utetheisa pulchelloides) Noctuinae (Caterpillar) Processionary Caterpillar

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