Elachista flammula Kaila, 2011
ELACHISTIDAE ,   GELECHIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


side view
Photo: courtesy of Lauri Kaila,
Elachistine Moths of Australia: (Lepidoptera: Gelechioidea: Elachistidae),
Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Vol. 11,
CSIRO Publishing, 2011, p. 195, fig 89.

The Caterpillar of this species is grey, smooth, long, and thin, with a pointed head. The caterpillar has a vague pale line along the back, accompanied along each side by a vague dark line.


dorsal view
Photo: courtesy of Lauri Kaila,
Elachistine Moths of Australia: (Lepidoptera: Gelechioidea: Elachistidae),
Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Vol. 11,
CSIRO Publishing, 2011, p. 195, fig 89.

The caterpillars have been found feeding on plants in CYPERACEAE, including

  • Creek Sedge ( Carex polyantha ).

    The caterpillars bore downwards into a leaf of their foodplant creating a translucent white mine between the upper and lowers skins of the leaf. The mine is straight, with a width of about 2 mms. The caterpillar grows to a length of about 1 cm. The mine reaches a length of about 15 cms. The caterpillars seem to be gregarious, with many larvae infesting a single plant, with up to 10 larvae mining each leaf, although each caterpillar had a separate mine.


    Photo: courtesy of Lauri Kaila,
    Elachistine Moths of Australia: (Lepidoptera: Gelechioidea: Elachistidae),
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Vol. 11,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2011, p. 275, Plate 18: fig 2.

    When mature: a caterpillar exits from its mine, and forms a naked pupa, usually facing head downwards, attached to a fold of a leaf by a silk girdle and some hooks on the underside of the pupa.


    female
    Photo: courtesy of Lauri Kaila,
    Elachistine Moths of Australia: (Lepidoptera: Gelechioidea: Elachistidae),
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Vol. 11,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2011, p. 258, Plate 1: fig 10.

    The female moths have dark brown forewings, each with three white marks along the costa, and a yellow stripe from the base to another white spot near the margin. The hindwings are grey, each with a white mark near the tornus, and with long brown and grey fringes along the inner margin. The female moths have a wingspan of about 0.8 cm.


    male
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    The male moths have white and yellow forewings, each with an interrupted dark brown stripe from the base to the margin. The hindwings are grey, each with a white mark near the tornus, and with long brown and grey fringes along the inner margin. The male moths have a wingspan of about 1 cm.

    The species has been found in

  • Australian Capital Territory.


    Further reading

    Lauri Kaila,
    Elachistine Moths of Australia: (Lepidoptera: Gelechioidea: Elachistidae),
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Vol. 11,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2011, pp. 17, 20, 38, 53, 61, 70-72, 258, 275, 306, 386, including Pls. 1.9, 1.10, 18.2; Figs. 58, 59, 110, 111, 326.


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    (written 4 July 2017, updated 11 July 2017)