Elachista synethes (Meyrick, 1897)
(one synonym : Lithocolletis scythrodes Turner, 1947)
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 grey, smooth, long, and thin, with a flattened head, and has a vague dark line along the back.


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

The caterpillars have been found feeding on grasses in POACEAE, including

  • Rescue Grass ( Bromus catharticus ),
  • Creeping Velvet Grass ( Holcus mollis ), and
  • Wheat ( Triticum aestivum ).

    The caterpillars bore downwards and upwards into a leaf of their foodplant creating a translucent white mine between the upper and lowers skins of the leaf. The mine is often along the midrib of the leaf, and filled with water. The frass is accumulated along a line at the side of the mine. The caterpillar grows 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 in a cocoon composed of a dense silk network, spun at the base of a leaf. The pupa is brown with a narrow dark line along the back, and a vague broader dark line along each side of the back.


    (Photo: courtesy of CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    The adult moths have brown wings, with three vague dark-edged transverse white bands as well as a vague coppery line along the length of each forewing. The moths have a wingspan of about 8 mms.

    The species has been found in

  • New Zealand,

    as well as in Australia in

  • Queensland,
  • Norfolk Island,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.


    Further reading

    Lauri Kaila,
    Elachistine Moths of Australia: (Lepidoptera: Gelechioidea: Elachistidae),
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Vol. 11,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2011, pp. 17, 21, 25, 33, 38-39, 43, 58, 63, 214, 217-221, 245, 271, 287,
    including Plates 3.5, 3.6, 19.1, 34.1, 42.2, 43.3; Figs. 62, 63, 123, 124, 336
    .

    Edward Meyrick,
    Descriptions of Australian Microlepidoptera XVII Elachistidae,
    Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales,
    Series 2, Volume 22, Part 2 (1897), p. 333, No. 66.


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    (written 14 July 2017)