Antipodia atralba (Tepper, 1882)
Black and White Skipper
(previously known as Motasingha atralba)
TRAPEZITINAE,   HESPERIIDAE,   HESPERIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

This Caterpillar is pale green with a dark line down the back and pale lines along each side. It has a rough brown head with short white hairs. It feeds on various species of Sword Grass ( CYPERACEAE ) including :

  • Hooked-leaf Saw Sedge ( Gahnia ancistrophylla ),
  • Heathy Saw-Sedge ( Gahnia deusta ),
  • Black Grass ( Gahnia lanigera ).

    The caterpillar rests head downward by day in a shelter made from twisted leaves of the foodplant, with the entrance at the bottom. The caterpillar emerges at night to feed. It pupates in the shelter, head downwards.


    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

    The adult butterfly is dark brown with several white spots on each fore wing. There is a suffused yellow patch on each hind wing. The males also have a black line near the centre of the upper surface of each fore wing. Underneath, the fore wings are black with a grey wing tip, a pale yellow costa, and several white spots. The hind wings underneath are grey with several outlined spots near the base, and a subterminal arc of outlined spots. The wing span is about 3 cms.


    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

    The species may be found near the coast in small pockets as several races in

  • Victoria,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 170-171.

    Johann Gottlieb Otto Tepper,
    The Papilionidae of South Australia,
    Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia,
    Volume 4 (1882), p. 33, and also Plate 2, fig. 5.


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    (updated 21 September 2013, 21 September 2013, 17 May 2020)