Alice Springs Fauna •

Alice Springs MothsAedia leucomelas (Sweet Potato Leaf Worm) Australian Striped Hawk Moth (Hyles livornicoides) Bag-shelter Moth & Processionary Caterpillar Carpenter Moth (Endoxyla cinereus) Chasmina pulchra (White Beauty) Convolvulus Hawk-moth (Agrius convolvuli) Cossid Moth (Endoxyla leucomochla) Endoxyla Moth (family Cossidae) Laced Day-Moth (Ipanica cornigera) Godart’s Hawkmoth (Agrius godarti) Helicoverpa punctigera (Australian Fruitworm) Leptocneria binotata Mocis alterna (Bean Looper Moth) Owlet Moth (Eudesmeola lawsoni) Owlet Moth (Ophiusa parcemacula) Sameodes cancellalis (Banded Pearl) Yeperenye / Yipirinya

Belonging to the order Lepidoptera (class Insecta), Alice Springs is home to a great variety of moths, with Australia being home to more then 10,000 species of moths (and with many yet to be identified). Moths form a group of some 125 families worldwide, with 82 families of moths represented in Australia.

Whilst many species may seem to have duller colours to the butterflies, they are interesting in their own right. Alice Springs and Central Australia have some known genus/species including the Processionary Caterpillars (also known as the Bag-shelter Moth, Ochrogaster lunifer) and the Yeperenye / Australian Striped Hawk Moth (Hyles livornicoides).

As well as the winged adult species, keep an eye out for the various instar stages including caterpillar and pupa/chrysalis. Checkout some of the moths we have documented here in Alice Springs.

Click on the following images to see information on the listed moths.

Aedia arctipennis - pictured on the Potato Vine (Ipomoea costata), Alice Springs, NT
Aedia arctipennis
Aedia leucomelas (Sweet Potato Leaf Worm), Alice Springs NT
Aedia leucomelas (Sweet Potato Leaf Worm)
Australian Striped Hawk Moth (Hyles livornicoides), Alice Springs NT
Australian Striped Hawk Moth (Hyles livornicoides)
Bag-shelter Moth (Ochrogaster lunifer), Alice Springs NT
Bag-shelter Moth and Processionary Caterpillar
Processionary Caterpillar (Ochrogaster lunifer)
Processionary Caterpillar (Ochrogaster lunifer)
Banksia Moth caterpillar (Psalidostetha banksiae), Alice Springs Desert Park NT
Banksia Moth caterpillar (Psalidostetha banksiae)
Carpenter Moth (Endoxyla cinereus), Alice Springs NT
Carpenter Moth (Endoxyla cinereus)
Chasmina pulchra, Alice Springs NT
Chasmina pulchra (White Beauty)
Sandal-box Hawk Moth (Coenotes eremophilae)
Coenotes eremophilae (nstar Sandal-box Hawk Moth)
Comocrus behri - caterpillar of the Day Flying Moth
Comocrus behri (caterpillar of the Mistletoe Moth)
Day Flying Moth (Comocrus behri) feeding on Red-capped Gum (Eucalyptus erythrocorys)
Comocrus behri (Mistletoe Moth / Day Flying Moth)
Convolvulus Hawk-moth (Agrius convolvuli), Alice Springs NT
Convolvulus Hawk-moth (Agrius convolvuli)
Witchetty Grub Cossid Moth (Endoxyla leucomochla)
Cossid Moth (Endoxyla leucomochla)
Four-spotted Cup Moth (Doratifera quadriguttata)
Doratifera quadriguttata (Four-spotted Cup Moth)
Endoxyla genus, family Cossidae (deceased), Alice Springs NT
Endoxyla genus, family Cossidae
Agrius godarti (Godart’s Hawkmoth), Alice Springs NT
Godart’s Hawkmoth (Agrius godarti)
Australian Fruitworm (Helicoverpa punctigera), Alice Springs NT
Helicoverpa punctigera (Australian Fruitworm)
Heliotrope Moth (Utetheisa pulchelloides), Alice Springs Desert Park NT
Heliotrope Moth (Utetheisa pulchelloides)
Laced Day-Moth (Ipanica cornigera), Olive Pink Botanic Garden, Alice Springs NT
Laced Day-Moth (Ipanica cornigera)
Case Moth, genus Lomera, family Psychidae
Leaf Case Moth (family Psychidae)
Leptocneria binotata, Alice Springs NT
Leptocneria binotata
Mocis alterna (Bean Looper Moth), Alice Springs NT
Mocis alterna (Bean Looper Moth)
Subfamily Noctuinae (Cutworms and Dart Moths), Alice Springs Desert Park NT
Noctuinae (Cutworms and Dart Moths)
Lawson's Night Moth / Owlet Moth (Eudesmeola lawsoni), Alice Springs NT
Owlet Moth (Eudesmeola lawsoni)
Ophiusa parcemacula (Owlet Moth / Figure Eight Moth), Alice Springs NT
Ophiusa parcemacula (Owlet Moth / Figure Eight Moth)
Plume Moth (family Pterophoridae), Alice Springs, NT
Plume Moth (family Pterophoridae)
Ribbed Case Moth (Hyalarcta nigrescens), Alice Springs, NT
Ribbed Case Moth (Hyalarcta nigrescens)
Sameodes cancellalis, Alice Springs NT
Sameodes cancellalis (Banded Pearl)
White-spotted Owl-Moth (Donuca spectabilis)
White-spotted Owl-Moth (Donuca spectabilis)
Yeperenye / Yipirinya Caterpillar, Alice Springs, NT
Yeperenye / Yipirinya (Hyles livornicoides)

Many online resources often group moths and butterflies together, however moths outnumber butterflies in both numbers and species. In Australia alone, there are over 10,500 species of moths, compared with about 400 species of butterflies. Whilst there are very few species of butterflies yet to be discovered, in Australia there is estimated to be at least another 10,000 moth species yet to be discovered, studied and named.

Witchetty Grub Cossid Moth (Endoxyla leucomochla)
Witchetty Grub Cossid Moth (Endoxyla leucomochla), Alice Springs NT

The following Day Flying Moth (Comocrus behri) seen here feeding on Red-capped Gum (Eucalyptus erythrocorys) in Alice Springs, is often mistaken for a butterfly.

Day Flying Moth (Comocrus behri) feeding on Red-capped Gum (Eucalyptus erythrocorys)
Day Flying Moth / Mistletoed Moth (Comocrus behri), Alice Springs, NT

  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Order: Lepidoptera

Footnote & References

  1. Moth, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moth (last visited Feb. 8, 2022)
  2. Butterfly, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly (last visited Feb. 13, 2022)
  3. Families of Moths in Australia, by Don Herbison-Evans and Stella Crossley, Coffs Harbour Butterfly House, http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/moths.html
  4. Australian Moths Online, CSIRO, https://moths.csiro.au/
  5. Moths, butterflies and skippers: Order Lepidoptera, Australian Museum, https://australian.museum/learn/animals/insects/moths-butterflies-and-skippers-order-lepidoptera/
  6. What are the differences between butterflies and moths? Australian Museum, https://australian.museum/learn/animals/insects/what-are-the-differences-between-butterflies-and-moths/
  7. Butterflies Australia, https://www.butterflies.org.au/
  8. Butterflies of Australia, Australian Caterpillars and their Butterflies and Moths, Coffs Harbour Butterfly House, http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/butter.html
  9. BOIC, Butterfly & Other Invertebrates Club, https://boic.org.au/
  10. Butterflies and Moths, iNaturalistAU, https://inaturalist.ala.org.au/taxa/47157-Lepidoptera
  11. Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, https://australianbutterflies.com/
  12. 8 Differences Between Butterflies and Moths, Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, https://australianbutterflies.com/8-differences-between-butterflies-and-moths/

Alice Springs MothsAedia leucomelas (Sweet Potato Leaf Worm) Australian Striped Hawk Moth (Hyles livornicoides) Bag-shelter Moth & Processionary Caterpillar Carpenter Moth (Endoxyla cinereus) Chasmina pulchra (White Beauty) Convolvulus Hawk-moth (Agrius convolvuli) Cossid Moth (Endoxyla leucomochla) Endoxyla Moth (family Cossidae) Laced Day-Moth (Ipanica cornigera) Godart’s Hawkmoth (Agrius godarti) Helicoverpa punctigera (Australian Fruitworm) Leptocneria binotata Mocis alterna (Bean Looper Moth) Owlet Moth (Eudesmeola lawsoni) Owlet Moth (Ophiusa parcemacula) Sameodes cancellalis (Banded Pearl) Yeperenye / Yipirinya

Alice Springs Butterflies & Moths (Lepidopterans)Butterflies Moths

Alice Springs FaunaAlice Springs Native Bees Alice Springs Beetles Alice Springs Birds Alice Springs Gastropods (Gastropoda) Alice Springs Insects Alice Springs Marsupials Alice Springs Reptiles Alice Springs Spiders

Alice Springs FloraAlice Springs Flora Index Acacia ligulata Annual Yellowtop Bougainvillea Apple Bush Burdekin Plum Carob Tree (Ceratonia siliqa) Cattle Bush Desert Cotton (Aerva javanica) Desert Oak Eremophila Wildberry Feijoa sellowiana Flannel Cudweed Fork-leaf Corkwood Ghost Gum Golden Everlasting Kurrajong Lemon-flowered Gum MacDonnell’s Desert Fuchsia Native Bluebell Native Tomato Needlewood Olive Tree Perennial Yellow Top Rat’s Tail River Red Gum Inland River Red Gum Rosy Dock Round-leaved Mallee Scurvy Grass Silky Eremophila Stemodia viscosa Striped Mintbush Sturt’s Desert Pea Sturt’s Desert Rose Tangled Leschenaultia Tar Vine Weeping Bottlebrush White Cedar Yellow Billybutton Yellow-keeled Swainsona Yellow Oleander