Trapezites luteus (Tepper, 1882)
Rare White Spot Skipper
(also known as Trapezites lutea)
TRAPEZITINAE,   HESPERIIDAE,   HESPERIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Trapezites luteus
(Photo: courtesy of Jenny Holmes, Great Western, Victoria )

This Caterpillar is greenish or pinkish grey, with dark dorsal and dorsolateral lines. The head is brown with a black stripe down the middle and down each side. It lives in a shelter formed by leaves loosely joined together with silk. It feeds on various species of Mat-Rush (ASPARAGACEAE):

  • Common Mat-rush ( Lomandra confertifolia ),
  • Pointed Mat-rush ( Lomandra densiflora ),
  • Narrow Mat-rush ( Lomandra filiformis ),
  • Spiny Headed Mat-rush ( Lomandra longifolia ), and
  • Many-flowered Mat-rush ( Lomandra multiflora ).

    Before pupating it goes for a walkabout for several days, and then pupates in a shelter of leaves joined with silk.

    Trapezites luteus
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    The adult butterfly is dark brown with a series of white and yellow patches on each fore wing. The hind wings each have an indistinct yellow patch. Underneath, the they are orange, with the same white spots as on the upper surface, but with a large rounded triangular dark brown patch under each fore wing, and one or more small white spots under each hind wing. The wing span is about 3 cms.

    Trapezites luteus
    (Photo: courtesy of Jenny Holmes, Great Western, Victoria )

    The species is thought to occur as three main subspecies :

  • luteus or lutea,
  • glaucus or glauca Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914, and
  • leucon Waterhouse, 1938.

    variously in

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

    Trapezites luteus
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker, Brisbane, Queensland)

    The eggs are dome shaped with minute ribs, with a diameter of about 1 mm. The eggs are initially white, turning pink as hatching approaches. They are laid singly on a leaf of a foodplant.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp 99-100.

    Johann Gottlieb Otto Tepper,
    The Papilionidae of South Australia,
    Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia,
    Volume 4 (1882), p. 33, and also Plate 2, fig. 6.

    Gustavus Athol Waterhouse,
    Australian Hesperiidae. VIII. Descriptions of new forms,
    Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales,
    Volume 63 (1938), p. 451.

    Gustavus Athol Waterhouse, & George Lyell,
    The Butterflies of Australia,
    Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1914, p. 177, figs 661, 739.


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    (updated 6 July 2010, 21 September 2013, 3 October 2020, 4 September 2021)