Oxycanus dirempta (Walker, 1865)
(one synonym : Porina kershawi Lucas, 1891)
Variable Oxycanus
HEPIALIDAE,   HEPIALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Oxycanus dirempta
(Photo: courtesy of Ken Harris, Morwell Park, Victoria)

The Caterpillars of this species live in burrows they dig in the ground. Typically these are under Wattle bushes (Acacia species). They line their burrows with silk. They feed nocturnally, crawling out of their burrows to feed on leaves.

They pupate in their burrow. When the moth is ready to emerge, the pupa wriggles to the top of the burrow, and the empty skin is left poking half out of the burrow after the adult moth has departed.

Oxycanus dirempta
(Photo: courtesy of Laura Levens, Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria)

The adult moths have patchy brown forewings, each with a variable number of postmedial arcs of dark spots, and sometimes with a white streak and/or two white spots. The hindwings are reddish-brown, fading to pale orange at the margins. The moths have a wingspan of about 6 cms.

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

The species is found in

  • Queensland.
  • New South Wales.
  • Australian Capital Territory,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania, and
  • South Australia.

    Oxycanus dirempta
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of John Bromilow, Ainslie, Australian Capital Territory)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 18.4, p. 150.

    Axel Kallies,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 6,
    Ghost Moths - HEPIALIDAE and Allies
    ,
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2015, pp. 12-13, 26-27.

    Francis Walker,
    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 32, Supplement part 2 (1865), p. 597, No. vii, 1572.


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    (updated 19 September 2011, 19 October 2019, 30 July 2020)