Black and White Skipper
(previously known as Motasingha atralba)
TRAPEZITINAE, HESPERIIDAE, HESPERIOIDEA
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 :
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.
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.
The species may be found near the coast in small pockets as several races in
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.
(updated 21 September 2013, 21 September 2013, 17 May 2020)