CYCLOTORNIDAE , ZYGAENOIDEA
early larva, black and white line drawing by H. Knight,
in Dodds & Meyrick: 'Some remarkable ant-friend Lepidoptera of Queensland',
Transactions of the Entomological Society of London, 1911, Plate XLVIII, fig. 12,
image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.
The caterpillars of this species are carnivorous. The caterpillars are red, flat and segmented, and look like woodlice. The early instars feed on
The caterpillars then form a first cocoon.
The later instars emerge after a few days, and are taken by
into the Ants' nest, where the caterpillars feed on the ant larvae. The mature caterpillars leave the ant nest to form a cocoon and pupate in a crevice nearby.
The caterpillars are thought to emit a kairomone that induces ants to take the caterpillars into the ants' nest.
Adult moths have dark brown wings, with a two dark spots and a dark dash on each forewing. The wingspan is about 2 cms.
The species has been found in Australia in
Further reading :
Supplement to F.P. Dodds' Some remarkable ant-friend Lepidoptera of Queensland,
Transactions of the Entomological Society of London,
1911, pp. 589-590 and also Plate 48, figs. 12-15.
(written 2 April 2017)