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Crow Moth - Cruria donowani

Family Noctuidae, sub family Agaristinae

This page contains information about Crow Moths that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Wing span 45mm
The moth looks like a Crow Butterfly with a bit smaller size. It is black in colour with white spots form a cat-face pattern on wings. Its abdomen is black and white banded with orange segments at the tip. It is believed those butterflies and moths with similar wing pattern form a Mullerian mimicry complex to avoid predator. Details please also check the Mimicry in Butterfly page. 
We found this day-flying moth in Anstead Bushland on mid-summer Jan 2009. 
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While we were taking the photos, the moth showed its Territorial Behaviour. It was flying among in between four or five trees which formed a four meters circle. Even with our disturbs, the moth never left this circle. The moth rested on tree trunk occasionally. When rested or flied, it was usually a meter about the ground, although it sometimes rested on ground. When came to rest, the moth landed with head facing up and wings fully opened, then turned around with head facing down and rest with wings half overlap to a triangle shape. It could rested for quite a while at this posture.  
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 When disturbed (in this case, the flash from my camera), the moth fully opened its wings and showed the cat face pattern on its wings. 
The cat face pattern is the common scare pattern of moths and butterflies to distract their predators. Most of the moths and butterflies suddenly fully open their wings with cat -face pattern or/and eye spots. In this case, the Crow Moth takes even one step further, show the car-face with tongue.  
The caterpillar is banded in black, white and brown colours, feeds on Guinea Flower (Hibbertia sp.). 

1. Moths of Australia - Bernard D'Abrera, Lansdowne Press, Melbourne, 1974, p78.
2. Cruria donowani (Boisduval, 1832) (Noctuidae: Agaristinae) - Australian Moths Online, CSIRO Entomology. 
3. Cruria donowani (Boisduval, 1832) - Don Herbison-Evans & Ian F.B. Common & Stella Crossley, Australian Caterpillars, 2008.
4. Moths of Australia - Ian F.B.Common, Melbourne University Press, 1990, plate 32.11 

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Last updated: January 03, 2009.