Pelopidas lyelli (Rothschild, 1915)
Lyell's Swift
(previously known as Parnara lyelli)
HESPERIINAE,   HESPERIIDAE,   HESPERIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Pelopidas lyelli
first instar
(Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

This Caterpillar is yellowish green with green dots and a darker green dorsal stripe. The last abdominal segment is larger, and is sparsely hairy.

Pelopidas lyelli
fifth instar
(Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

The Caterpillar feeds on the leaves of various species of POACEAE, for example:

  • Sorghum ( Sorghum bicolor ), and
  • Dallisgrass ( Paspalum dilatatum ).

    The Caterpillar rolls a foodplant leaf to make a shelter in which it hides by day, only emerging at night to feed.

    Pelopidas lyelli
    pupa
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    It pupates inside its shelter. The pupa is green with a point on its head. Its length is about 3 cms.

    Pelopidas lyelli
    female
    (Specimen: courtesy of The Australian Museum)

    The adult butterfly is dark brown with a series of white spots on each fore wing.

    Pelopidas lyelli
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    The males have a grey line across part of the upper surface of each forewing. The wing span is about 3 cms.

    Pelopidas lyelli
    (Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Sydney)

    The eggs are round, and laid singly on a food plant leaf.

    Pelopidas lyelli
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    The species is found across the south-west pacific, including

  • Papua New Guinea,
  • Solomons,

    and in Australia in

  • Western Australia,
  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 239-240.

    Wesley Jenkinson,
    Life History notes on the Lyell's Swift, Pelopidas lyelli lyelli (Rothschild, 1915) Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 65 (June 2012), pp. 16-18,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Wesley Jenkinson,
    Omissions,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 66 (September 2012), pp. 37-38,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 230.

    Lionel Walter Rothschild,
    A new form of Attacus,
    Novitates Zoologicae,
    Volume 22, Part 3 (1915), p. 400, No. 171.


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    (updated 29 June 2012, 29 September 2013, 28 January 2014)