Antipodia chaostola (Meyrick, 1888)
Heath Sand Skipper
(previously known as Hesperilla chaostola)
TRAPEZITINAE ,   HESPERIIDAE ,   HESPERIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

This Caterpillar is yellowish with a red prothorax, and a dark dorsal line. The head is hairy and dark brown with two pale bands. The caterpillar grows to a length of about 3 cms. By day it rests head down in a conical shelter made from foodplant leaves joined by silk. The entrance is at the bottom. It feeds nocturnally on various species of Sword Grass ( CYPERACEAE ) including :

  • Tufted Perennial Grass ( Gahnia filifolia ),
  • Cutting Grass ( Gahnia grandis ),
  • Slender Saw-sedge ( Gahnia microstachya ),
  • Thatch Saw Sedge ( Gahnia radula ), and
  • Red Fruit Saw Sedge ( Gahnia sieberiana ).


    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

    The pupa is formed in the shelter, head down.

    When it emerges, the adult butterfly on top is dark brown with several white spots on each forewing. There is a suffused yellow patch on each hindwing. The males have a black patch on each forewing. Underneath, the wings are black with a grey wingtip, a pale yellow triangle extending from the base to halfway along the costa, and several white spots. The hindwings underneath are grey with a number of indistinct outlined grey spots. The wingspan is about 3 cms.


    male
    Photos: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

    The species may be found in small pockets as several races :

  • chaostola in New South Wales,
  • chares in Victoria, and
  • leucophaea in Tasmania (endangered species).


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby, Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 168-169.


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    (updated 2 May 2005, 22 September 2013)