Mesodina halyzia (Hewitson, 1868)
Eastern Iris Skipper
(previously known as Hesperilla halyzia)
TRAPEZITINAE ,   HESPERIIDAE ,   HESPERIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Mesodina halyzia
(Photo: courtesy of Nick Monaghan, Tewantin, Queensland)

The caterpillar of this species is pale green, and covered in a white powder. The head is large and black with thick white hairs. It feeds on various plants in IRIDACEAE including:

  • Short Purple Flag ( Patersonia fragilis ),
  • Leafy Purple Flag ( Patersonia glabrata ),
  • Purple Flag ( Patersonia occidentalis ), and
  • Silky Purple Flag ( Patersonia sericea ),

    The Caterpillar constructs a shelter by joining leaves with silk, with an opening at the bottom. The Caterpillar emerges to feed typically at dusk and at dawn, leaving characteristic triangular gaps n the leaves.

    The Caterpillar pupates head downward in its shelter.

    Mesodina halyzia
    (Photo: courtesy of Nick Monaghan, Tewantin, Queensland)

    The upper side of the adult butterfly is dark brown with a patch of white spots on each fore wing. Each wing also has a chequered border. Underneath, the wings are fawn with white patches under the fore wings, and dark outlined spots under each hind wing. The wing span is about 3 cms.

    The species is found in small pockets around the coast of mainland Australia in

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • Victoria.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 182-183.

    William Chapman Hewitson,
    Hesperidae,
    Descriptions of One Hundred new species of Hesperidae,
    London, Part 1 (1868), p. 38, No. 1.


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    (updated 20 March 2011, 27 September 2013)