Abantiades marcidus Tindale, 1932
one of several species called
Bardi, Bardie or Witchetty Grub, Ghost or Rain Moth
HEPIALIDAE ,   HEPIALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
( donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Abantiades marcidus
(Photo: courtesy of Judy Ormond, Nathalia, Victoria)

The caterpillars of this species are white with a brown head and dark spiracles. The caterpillars are a favoured bait for fishing. They live in vertical tunnels in the ground, which they dig and cap with a hinged lid. The caterpillars feed on the roots of

  • Gum Trees ( Eucalyptus species, MYRTACEAE ).

    The caterpillars ringbark the roots, and the plant responds by growing gall-like tissue on the underground root, upon which the caterpillars then feed.

    The caterpillars pupate at the bottom of their tunnel. The pupa can have a length up to 8 cms. When metamorphosis is complete, the pupa squirms up to the top of its tunnel and pushes itself half out when the adult moth is about to emerge.

    Abantiades marcidus
    female
    (Photo: by Judy Ormond, courtesy of Lyn Loger, Nathalia, Victoria)

    These adult moths are grey-brown with variable white flashes and other more complex markings on the forewings. The hindwings are brown, fading to pale brown at the margins. The males are usually smaller than the females, and have more prominent white markings.

    Abantiades marcidus
    male
    (Photo: by Judy Ormond, courtesy of Lyn Loger, Nathalia, Victoria)

    The caterpillars, pupae, and adult moths were used as food by the people of the Wirrangu Nation in South Australia.

    The species is found in :

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


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 17.4, p. 150.


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    (updated 24 May 2010)