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


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

The Caterpillar of this species is grey, smooth, long, and thin, with a flattened head. The caterpillar has a central broad pale line along the back, containing even paler spots, and has several dark dashed lines along the sides of the body.


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

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

  • Sandhill Sword-sedge ( Lepidosperma concavum ) and
  • Variable Sword-sedge ( Lepidosperma laterale ).

    The caterpillars bore a narrow mine between the upper and lower skins of a leaf of its foodplant, initially upwards along an edge of the leaf, then the caterpillar turns and crosses to the other side of the leaf, then mining upwards again along that edge, then crossing back, repeating this several times during its feeding phase, so creating a zig-zag mine between the upper and lower skins of the leaf. As the caterpillar nears maturity: the mine is broadened out to encompass the whole width of the leaf. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 1 cm.


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

    When mature: the caterpillar exits the mine and forms a pupa attached to a leaf. The pupa is dark brown on top, and pale underneath.


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

    The adult moths have grey-brown wings, with some variable dark marks on the forewings. The moths have a wingspan of about 8 mms.

    The species has been found in

  • New South Wales, and
  • Western Australia.
  •    

    Typical zig-zag leaf mines
    (Photo: courtesy of Lauri Kaila, from Elachistine Moths of Australia)


    Further reading

    Lauri Kaila,
    Elachistine Moths of Australia: (Lepidoptera: Gelechioidea: Elachistidae),
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Vol. 11,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2011, pp. 24, 38, 39, 55, 62, 153-155, 265, 283, 297, 338, 339, 403, 407,
    including Plates 8.7, 8.8, 26.1, 40.1; Figs. 2, 3, 207, 208, 376, 386
    .


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    (written 20 August 2017)