Signeta flammeata (Butler, 1882)
Bright Shield Skipper
(previously known as Telesto flammeata)
TRAPEZITINAE ,   HESPERIIDAE ,   HESPERIOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Signeta flammeata
(Photo: courtesy of R.Field, Museum Victoria)

The Caterpillar of this species is brown with a darker brown line along the back. The head is black with brown markings and is indented. The Caterpillar grows to a length of about 1.5 cms. It feeds on grasses such as

  • Brown Top Bent ( Agrostis capillaris ),
  • Slender Tussock Grass ( Poa tenera ), and
  • Rice Grass ( Tetrarrhena ),

    all of POACEAE.

    The Caterpillar resides by day in a shelter of grass stems held together loosely with silk, feeding nocturnally. It pupates in its shelter.

    Signeta flammeata
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

    The upper surface of the adult butterfly is dark brown, with white patches on the fore wings. The male also has a large black patch on each fore wing, and the female has a pale yellow patch on each hind wing. Underneath, the wings are a paler brown, the fore wings having pale yellow patches, and the hind wings having a subterminal arc of dark dots. The wing span is about 3 cms.

    Signeta flammeata
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

    Males of this species, like those of several other species of butterflies, seem particularly fond of aggregating at hill tops.

    Signeta flammeata
    female laying eggs
    (Photo: courtesy of Nick Monaghan)

    The eggs are laid singly on gum leaves or branches or other debris on the ground near tussocks of a foodplant.

    The species may be found particularly in the hill country along the east coast of Australia including:

  • southern Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • South Australia.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp 139-140.

    Arthur G. Butler,
    On a small collection of Lepidoptera from Melbourne.,
    Annals and Magazine of Natural History,
    Series 5, Volume 9 (1882), pp. 85-86, No. 7 (383).


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    (updated 19 March 2011, 21 September 2013)