Cyana meyricki (Rothschild & Jordan, 1901)
(one synonym : Chionaema meyricci Hampson, 1914)
LITHOSIINAE ,   ARCTIIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Cyana meyricki
(Photo: courtesy of Sandi Butler, Maleny, Queensland)

This caterpillar probably feeds on Lichens and Algae on dead wood.

Cyana meyricki
(Photo: courtesy of Sandi Butler, Maleny, Queensland)

The cocoon made by the caterpillar is quite remarkable. It is an open square mesh cage, constructed out of larval hairs held together with silk. The hairs are too short to construct the cage directly, so the caterpillar attaches pairs of hairs to each other end to end, and uses these pairs to make the sides of the cage. The pupa is suspended in the middle of the cage, equidistant from the sides. The caterpillar even manages to push its final larval skin outside the mesh cage while forming its pupa. When the moth emerges, it appears to exit the cage without damaging it.

Cyana meyricki
(Photo: courtesy of Jaap Vogel, Tamborine, Queensland)

The adult moth of this species has brown forewings with black edges. The hindwings are black, with a yellow spot in the middle of each one. The moth has a wingspan of about 3 cms.

Cyana meyricki
(Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

The species is found in rain-forest in

  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 18.19, p. 437.

    Peter Hendry,
    Report on an afternoon identifying the Arctiinae,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 66 (September 2012), p. 35,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Geoff Monteith,
    The mystery of the arctiid moth, Cyana meyricki Rothschild An Insect Houdini.
    Entomological Society of Queensland,
    Volume 36 (2008), Number 9, pp. 237-243.

    Geoff Monteith,
    The Mystery Photograph from Last Issue,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 53 (June 2009), pp. 33-35,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Lionel Walter Rothschild & Karl Jordan,
    On some new or rare Oriental Lithosiinae.,
    Novitates Zoologicae,
    Volume 8, Part 4 (1901), p. 410, No. 5.


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    (updated 1 May 2013)