Abantiades labyrinthicus (Donovan, 1805)
Swift Moth
(one synonym : Rhizopsyche swainsoni Scott, 1864)
HEPIALIDAE ,   HEPIALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Peter Marriott & Stella Crossley


listed as Rhizopsyche swainsoni
Drawing: by Harriet and Helena Scott, Australian Lepidoptera, Volume 1 (1864), plate 4,
courtesy of the Australian Museum.

The Caterpillars of this species are off-white, with a brown head and a pale brown prothorax. The caterpillars are found in tunnels underground, which can be as deep as 1 metre. The caterpillars are thought to feed on tree roots, and grow to a length of about 11 cms. The caterpillars pupate in the bottom of their tunnel.


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

The male adult moths are brown with two silver flashes on each forewing. These flashes can be broken or fused. The male moths have a wingspan of about 10 cms. The females are similar but are larger: with a wing span of about 16 cms. The moths have unipectinate antennae.


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

The species is found along the temporate east coast of Australia, including:

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria, and
  • Tasmania.


    Male
    (Photo: copyright Peter Marriott)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 17.5, p. 150.

    Harriet, Helena, and Alexander W. Scott,
    Australian Lepidoptera and their Transformations,
    Australian Lepidoptera, Volume 1 (1864), p. 27, plate 9.


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    (updated 17 September 2011, 17 September 2013)