Borbo impar (Mabille, 1883)
Yellow Swift
(previously known as Baoris impar)
HESPERIINAE ,   HESPERIIDAE ,   HESPERIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Borbo impar
(Photo: by C.E. Meyer, courtesy of The Australian Entomologist)

This Caterpillar is cream with a lot of little green spots all over. It has a green line along the back edged with cream. The head is fawn with red and white stripes. It feeds at night on various plants from the Grass family ( POACEAE ), including :

  • Guinea Grass ( Panicum maximum ),
  • Desho ( Pennisetum pedicellatum ), and
  • Itch Grass ( Rottboellia cochinchinensis ).

    The Caterpillar hides by day in a shelter made from a rolled leaf of its foodplant, and grows to a length of about 4 cms.

    Borbo impar
    (Photo: by C.E. Meyer, courtesy of The Australian Entomologist)

    In due course it pupates in an open cylindrical shelter on a dense pad of silk. The pupa is green with a horn on its head. The pupa has a length of about 3 cms.

    Borbo impar
    (Specimen: courtesy of The Australian Museum)

    The adult butterfly is dark brown, with a sparse submarginal row of spots shading from white along the margin of the fore wing to yellow along the margin of the hind wing. The wing span is 3 to 4 cms. The undersides are similar to the upper surfaces but paler.

    Various subspecies are found in south-west Pacific, including

  • Indonesia, and
  • Papua New Guinea.

    The subspecies lavinia (Waterhouse, 1932), and tetragraphus (Mabille, 1891) have been recognised in Australia in

  • Northern Territory, and
  • Queensland.


    Further reading :

    Paul Mabille,
    Description d'Hespéries,,
    Bulletin de la Société Entomologique de Belgique,
    Volume 27 (1883), p. lxvi.

    C.E. Meyer,
    The Life History of Borbo impar lavinia (Waterhouse) (Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae),
    The Australian Entomologist, Volume 24, part 2 (September 1997), pp. 78-80.

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 245-246.


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    (updated 28 October 2009, 22 September 2013)