Hesperilla chrysotricha (Meyrick & Lower, 1902)
Golden-haired Skipper
(one synonym : Telesto cyclospila Meyrick & Lower, 1902)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

This Caterpillar is yellowish with a pinkish 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 4 cms. It lives and feeds on various species of Sword Grass (CYPERACEAE) including :

  • Weeping Saw Sedge ( Gahnia decomposita ),
  • Heathy Saw Sedge ( Gahnia deusta ),
  • Thatching Grass ( Gahnia filum ),
  • Slender Saw Sedge ( Gahnia microstachya ),
  • Thatch Saw Sedge ( Gahnia radula ),
  • Red Fruit Saw Sedge ( Gahnia sieberiana ), and
  • Twine Rush ( Gahnia trifida ).

    The caterpillar creates a shelter from silk and leaves of the foodplant in which it rests by day, feeding nocturnally.

    Pupation occurs in the shelter.

    Hesperilla chrysotricha
    (Photo: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

    The adult butterfly is dark brown with several white spots on each forewing. The male has a black line (sex brand) half way across the top of each forewing. There is a yellow patch on each hindwing.

    Hesperilla chrysotricha
    (Photo: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

    Underneath: the forewings are half pale brown and half dark brown, with several pale yellow spots. The hindwings underneath are yellow with one separate outlined white spot near the base, and a subterminal arc of up to eight outlined white spots. The male wingspan is about 3.5 cms. The female is slightly larger.

    Hesperilla chrysotricha
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker, Bunbury, Western Australia)

    Eggs are pale yellowish-green and are spheroidal with about 40 microscopic ribs. The eggs have a diameter of about 1 mm. The eggs are laid singly on leaves of a foodplant.

    The species may be found in small pockets in :

  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia (listed as Hesperilla chysotricha), and
  • Western Australia,

    as several races including :

  • cyclospila Meyrick and Lower, 1902,
  • leucosplila Waterhouse, 1927, and
  • naua Couchman, 1949.

  • Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 156-158.

    Edward Meyrick & Oswald B. Lower,
    Revision of the Australian Hesperiadae,
    Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia,
    Volume 26, Part 2 (1902), pp. 59-60, No. 47.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 25 July 2004, 5 January 2024)