(formerly known as Paraponyx nitens)
ACENTROPINAE, CRAMBIDAE, PYRALOIDEA
(Drawing: courtesy of Ian Common, from Moths of Australia)
The Caterpillars of this species live underwater. The filaments protruding from the body are not hairs but gills for breathing underwater. The caterpillars have been found in stagnant fresh water inland and in brackish estuaries on the coast. They live in a portable protective case made of bits of plant. They feed on such underwater plants as :
In still water, the caterpillars have been observed to wriggle a great deal. This may be to keep the water moving around the gills to ensure an adequate oxygen supply.
The adults have brown forewings with white markings and patchy buff coloured hindwings. They have a wingspan of about 1.5 cms.
The species is found in
and over most of Australia, including
Further reading :
Arthur G. Butler,
On a collection of Lepidoptera Heterocera from Marlborough Province, New Zealand,
Volume 2 (1880), p. 556, No. 67 (40).
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 33.1, pp. 346, 352.
Peter B. McQuillan, Jan A. Forrest, David Keane, & Roger Grund,
Caterpillars, moths, and their plants of Southern Australia,
Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc., Adelaide (2019), p. 84.
Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
A Guide to Australian Moths,
CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 129.
(updated 8 June 2011, 7 November 2018, 3 April 2019, 9 November2020)