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Castor Oil Semi-Looper Moth (captured by Gecko)

Achaea janata


The Castor Oil Semi-Looper, Achaea janata, is a Noctuid moth, the caterpillars of which are termed 'semi-loopers' due to their mode of locomotion and feed on Castor Ricinus communis and both Brassica and Ficus species. It is found from the Indo-Australian tropics and subtropics, extending south to New Zealand and east through the Pacific archipelagoes to Easter Island.


Under a porch light on my verandah.


I saw this lovely moth fluttering around my kitchen window, obviously attracted to the internal lights. I went to have a closer look and inadvertently turned on the exterior light. Immediately attracted to its bright glow, it raced towards it, and so did this gecko The moth was captured within seconds. I grabbed my camera, and as I moved in to get some pics the gecko released its prey. The bite mark can be seen on its back, just behind the head. The poor old moth survived the night and I found it in the garden this morning, but whether it will die of its wounds is anyone's guess.

1 species ID suggestions

Castor Caterpillar Moth
Achaea janata caster oil looper


Neil Ross
Neil Ross 5 years ago

haha I don't think so, Mark. More like me being intrusive and spooking it. Needless to say it over-reacted. I'm not that ugly ;-)

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 5 years ago

Classic scene. Did the gecko drop it because it tasted like castor oil ? :-)

Neil Ross
Neil Ross 5 years ago

Thank you so much for the ID, Jakubko. I'm very impressed. I was leaning towards the Noctuid species... but wasn't quite there yet. I think it's a gorgeous moth too, and the first of this species I've ever encountered. On the lookout for some caterpillars now :-)

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 5 years ago

What an absolutely gorgeous moth! Here is another reference link:

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Lat: -27.51, Long: 153.02

Spotted on Jan 24, 2014
Submitted on Jan 25, 2014

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