Elachista gerasmia Meyrick, 1889
(one synonym : Elachista egena Turner, 1923)
ELACHISTIDAE ,   GELECHIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


side view
(Photo: courtesy of Lauri Kaila, from Elachistine Moths of Australia)

This Caterpillar is naked and grey with a dark line along each side, and a broad pale line along the back. The head is narrow and the tail pointed.


dorsal view
(Photo: courtesy of Lauri Kaila, from Elachistine Moths of Australia)

The caterpillar bores into the stems of its foodplant. A tunnel may be seen as a series of translucent areas where the caterpillar has mined close to the inner surface of the skin of the stem. The caterpillar has been found feeding in several species of JUNCACEAE including

  • Austral Rush ( Juncus australis )
  • Pale Rush ( Juncus pallidus ), and
  • Pin Rush ( Juncus usitatus ).

    The caterpillar grows to a length of about 1 cm.


    (Photo: courtesy of Lauri Kaila, from Elachistine Moths of Australia)

    The caterpillar pupates outside its borehole, attaching the pupa to a surface with a silk girdle and hooks on the underside of the pupa to a nearby stem or leaf. The pupa is brown, ridged, and long and thin, with a length of about 1 cm.


    (Photo: courtesy of Lauri Kaila, from Elachistine Moths of Australia)

    The adult moths have fawn forewings which each have a scattering of dark dots. The hindwings are plain dark grey. The moths have a wingspan of about 1 cm.

    The species has been found in

  • New Zealand,

    as well as in Australia in

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Tasmania, and
  • South Australia.


    Further reading

    Lauri Kaila,
    Elachistine Moths of Australia: (Lepidoptera: Gelechioidea: Elachistidae),
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Vol. 11,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2011, pp. 17, 20, 25, 26, 32, 38, 43, 54, 61, 145-148, 183, 257, 265, 282, 336, 400, 401, including Plates 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 25.2; Figs. 4, 6, 38, 39, 78, 79, 199, 200, 370, 371.

    Edward Meyrick,
    Descriptions of New Zealand Micro-Lepidoptera,
    Transactions of the New Zealand Institute,
    Volume 21, 1889, p. 177, No. 33.


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    (written 14 June 2017, updated 12 July 2017)