Elhamma australasiae (Walker, 1856)
(one synonym : Porina banghaasii Pfitzner, 1914)
HEPIALIDAE ,   HEPIALOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Elhamma australasiae
(Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Concord, New South Wales)

When the eggs of this species are first deposited by the female moth, they are white. As she keeps laying, later eggs are brown, and finally black.

Elhamma australasiae
(Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Concord, New South Wales)

The Caterpillars are initially buff with brown heads. Later they become dark brown all over. They are said to feed on :

  • various grasses ( POACEAE ).

    Elhamma australasiae
    Male
    (Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Concord, New South Wales)

    The forewings of the adult moths are brown often with pale or dark speckles. The hindwings and abdomen are sometimes yellow and sometimes red. The males have a pale-edged dark wavy line along each forewing.

    Elhamma australasiae
    Male
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The wings lose the scales very easily, leaving the wings semi-transparent. The male moths have a wingspan of about 4 cms. The females have a span of 4 to 6 cms.

    Elhamma australasiae
    Female
    (Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Concord, New South Wales)

    The species occurs in

  • New Guinea,
    and along the eastern seaboard of Australia, and is a common species in
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • Victoria.

    Elhamma australasiae
    Female
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The earliest adults appear in January, but they are most common in March and usually disappear by April. The males come to lights more readily than the females, and are more uniform in size.

    Elhamma australasiae
    Female, head
    (Photo: courtesy of Laura Levens, Victoria)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 19.1, p. 149.

    Axel Kallies,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 6,
    Ghost Moths - HEPIALIDAE and Allies
    ,
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2015, pp. 12-13, 16-17.

    Francis Walker,
    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 7 (1856), p. 1558, No. 16.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths,
    CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 41.


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    (updated 27 July 2011)