Aenetus ligniveren (Lewin, 1805)
(erroneously: Charaga lignivorus)
HEPIALIDAE ,   HEPIALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
( donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Aenetus ligniveren
Male
(Photo: courtesy of Pam Jackson, Hesket, Victoria)

The eggs of this species are laid on the bark of a foodplant. The young Caterpillars when they hatch, bore horizontally into the the stem and then downwards to make a vertical tunnel in which they live. They cover the opening with a mess of silk and wood fragments. The Caterpillars are pale yellow with a dark brown head. They emerge at night to feed on bark, and have been recorded attacking various species in the genera :

  • Acmena,
  • Bottlebrush ( Callistemon ),
  • Gum Trees ( Eucalyptus ),
  • Tea Trees ( Leptospermum ),
  • Lophostemon, and
  • Paperbarks ( Melaleuca ),

    all of MYRTACEAE, as well as :

  • Olearia ( ASTERACEAE ),
  • Prostanthera ( LAMIACEAE ),
  • Wattle ( Acacia, MIMOSACEAE ),
  • Pomaderris ( RHAMNACEAE ),
  • Apple ( Malus pumila, ROSACEAE ),
  • Dodonaea ( SAPINDACEAE ), and
  • Elm ( Ulmus, ULMACEAE ).

    They pupate in their tunnel near the opening, with the head uppermost. The adult moths emerge in early summer.

    Aenetus ligniveren
    Male
    (Picture: by E.H. Zeck,
    from "Forest Insects of Australia" by W.W. Froggatt,
    Forestry Commission of New South Wales, 1923)

    The male adult moth has green forewings, with a series of white diagonal stripes across each one. The hindwings are a shiny pale grey colour. The abdomen is mauve where the wings cover it, but the end segments are green. He has a wingspan of about 5 cms.

    Aenetus ligniveren   Aenetus ligniveren
    Female
    (Photo: courtesy of Sean Cleal, Sydney)

    The female adult moths differ from the males. The females are larger and have brown wings, with variable green patches on the forewings. They have a wingspan of about 7 cms.

    Aenetus ligniveren
    Female
    (Picture: by E.H. Zeck,
    from "Forest Insects of Australia" by W.W. Froggatt,
    Forestry Commission of New South Wales, 1923)

    The species occurs in:

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

    Aenetus ligniveren
    Male, underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Laura Levens, Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common, Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pls. 2.10, 2.11, pp. 67, 147.


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    (updated 8 December 2012)