Hesperilla donnysa Hewitson, 1868
Varied Sedge Skipper
TRAPEZITINAE ,   HESPERIIDAE ,   HESPERIOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Hesperilla donnysa
(Photo: courtesy of P. and M. Coupar, Museum Victoria)

This Caterpillar is green, with a dark dorsal line. The head is brown with a dark wedge shaped mark and two dark stripes. The caterpillar feeds on various species of Sword Grass (CYPERACEAE), depending on locality, including :

  • Red Fruit Sawsedge ( Gahnia sieberiana ).

    The Caterpillar constructs a shelter using silk, rolling or joining leaves of the foodplant. By day it lives in its shelter, enmerging at night to feed.

    It pupates in its shelter.

    Hesperilla donnysa
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

    The adult butterfly is dark brown with a yellow patch and and some white spots on each fore wing, and a yellow patch on each hind wing. The males have a patch of grey on each forewing.

    Hesperilla donnysa
    (Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Ingleburn, New South Wales)

    Underneath, the wings are fawn coloured, with white and yellow patches under the forewings, and an arc of white dots edged in black under each hindwing. The wingspan of the males is about 3 cms. That of the females is about 3.5 cms.

    Hesperilla donnysa
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

    The eggs are white and laid singly under a leaf of a foodplant.

    The species is found in a number of pockets around the southern half of Australia, with a number of races adapted to various climates from the seashore to the mountains, including :

  • galena Waterhouse, 1927, around Geraldton, Western Australia,
  • albina Waterhouse, 1932, in south-west Western Australia,
  • as well as
  • delos Waterhouse, 1941,
  • dilutaWaterhouse, 1932, and
  • donnysa,
    in South Australia,
  • and
  • aurantia Waterhouse, 1927, in Tasmania and local islands,
  • and
  • icaria Waterhouse, 1941,
  • patmos Waterhouse, 1941, and
  • samos Waterhouse, 1941,
    in Victoria, New South Wales and southern Queensland.

  • Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 152-154.

    Kelvin Dunn,
    New Distribution Records for Ceoliadine and Trapezitine Butterflies (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae) in Australia,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 79 (December 2015), pp. 13-31,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    William Chapman Hewitson,
    Hesperidae,
    Descriptions of One Hundred new species of Hesperidae,
    London, Part 1 (1867), p. 39, No. 3.


    previous
    back
    caterpillar
    Australian
    Australian Butterflies
    butterflies
    Australian
    home
    caterpillars
    Australian
    Australian Moths
    moths
    next
    next
    caterpillar

    (updated 2 February 2010, 21 September 2013)