Hygraula nitens (Butler, 1880)
(formerly knwon as Paraponyx nitens)
Pond Moth
ACENTROPINAE ,   CRAMBIDAE ,   PYRALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Hygraula nitens
(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 :

  • Curly Pondweed ( Potamogeton crispus, POTAMOGETONACEAE ), and
  • Sea Grass ( Zostera, ZOSTERACEAE )

    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.

    Hygraula nitens
    Female
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The adults have brown forewings with white markings and patchy buff coloured hindwings. They have a wingspan of about 1.5 cms.

    Hygraula nitens

    The species is found in

  • New Zealand,

    and over most of Australia, including

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.


    Further reading :

    Arthur G. Butler,
    On a collection of Lepidoptera Heterocera from Marlborough Province, New Zealand,
    Cistula Entomologica,
    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.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 129.


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    (updated 8 June 2011)