Hesperilla mastersi Waterhouse, 1900
Masters' Skipper
TRAPEZITINAE ,   HESPERIIDAE ,   HESPERIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Specimen: courtesy of The Australian Museum)

This is a yellow Caterpillar with an orange thorax and tail, a dark line along the back, white lines along the sides, and a brown and black head. It feeds on Sword Grass species ( CYPERACEAE ) including:

  • Dark Fruited Saw Grass ( Gahnia melanocarpa ), and
  • Thatch Saw Sedge ( Gahnia radula ).

    The Caterpillar constructs a shelter joining foodplant leaves with silk, where it rest by day, emerging to feed at night. It pupates within its shelter.

    The adult butterfly has brown wings, with off-white spots on the forewings, and an orange patch on each hind wing. The adults have a wingspan of about 4 cms. The males have a black line acros most of each forewing.


    underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The undersides of the wings are brown marbled with white markings.

    The species is found in the

  • southern Queensland,
    and along the coastal strip of
  • New South Wales, and
  • Victoria.
    It did occur in north-eastern Tasmania until the small area where its foodplant was growing was cleared to provide cattle pasture. It is probably now extinct in Tasmania.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp 150-151.


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    (updated 28 July 2001, 27 September 2013)