Synemon laeta Walker, 1854
CASTNIIDAE ,   SESIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Dave Britton & Stella Crossley

Synemon laeta
(Photo: copyright: Dave Britton)

The Caterpillars of this species differ from those of most other Synemon species in that they feed inside the culm of the foodplant at ground level, rather than on the roots underground. The only known foodplant for this species of Caterpillar is :

  • Spiny Headed Mat Rush ( Lomandra longifolia, ASPARAGACEAE ).

    Synemon laeta
    drawing by Arthur G. Butler,

    Illustrations of typical specimens of Lepidoptera Heterocera in the collection of the British Museum,
    Part 1 (1877), Plate 3, fig. 4,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Gerstein Library, University of Toronto.

    Unlike most other species of Synemon the males show territorial behaviour, setting up territories around a perch (in this case a grass stem). Males chase intruding males away from the area around the perch. Immediately upon settling males briefly display part of the bright hindwing, perhaps as a signal to any potentially interested females that might be around.

    Synemon laeta
    (Photo: copyright: Dave Britton)

    The adult moths have a brown pattern on the forewings, and scarlet hindwings each with a brown marginal and submarginal arc. The wingspan is about 5 cms.

    This moth is common in dry open eucalypt bush on the east coast of

  • Queensland.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pls. 6.23, 6.24, p. 285.

    Francis Walker,
    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 1 (1854), p. 36, No. 4.


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    (updated 6 July 2009, 10 April 2017)