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


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

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


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

The caterpillars have been found feeding on

  • Tall Sedge ( Carex appressa, CYPERACEAE ).

    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 initially narrow, and broadens as the caterpillar matures. The mine reaches the whole width of the leaf, and a length of up to 20 cms. The frass is packed at the top of the mine. The caterpillar grows to a length of about 1 cm.


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

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


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

    The adult moths have speckled brown wings, with two vague pale areas near the middle of each forewing. The females sometimes have a white spot near the tip of each forewing. The moths have a wingspan of about 8 mms.

    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. 38, 39,54, 61,62, 85-87, 260, 276, 311, 390,
    including Plates 3.7, 3.8, 19.2; Figs. 64, 65, 125, 337
    .


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    (written 10 July 2017)