Oreisplanus munionga (Olliff, 1890)
Alpine Skipper
(previously known as Hesperilla munionga)
TRAPEZITINAE,   HESPERIIDAE
PAPILIONOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

This Caterpillar is greyish green, with a dark lines along the back, and white lines along each side. The head is brown with black markings. It has been found feeding on various species of Sedge (CYPERACEAE) including :

  • Tall Sedge ( Carex appressa ),
  • Drooping Sedge ( Carex longebrachiata ), and
  • Fairy Lights ( Scirpus polystachyus ).

    The caterpillar rests by day in a shelter constructed of leaves of its foodplant joined by silk. It feeds nocturnally.

    Oreisplanus munionga
    (Photo: courtesy of Museums Victoria)

    The adult butterfly is dark brown with several yellow patches on each forewing, and a yellow patch on each hindwing.

    Oreisplanus munionga
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Museums Victoria)

    The underside of each forewing is similar to the upper surface with the addition of a broad yellow band near the tip and a long yellow triangle near the base. The hindwings underneath are yellow with black markings. The body is dark brown on top and yellow with black markings underneath. The wing span is about 3 cms.

    Oreisplanus munionga
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker, Glen Valley, Victoria)

    Eggs are off-white and are dome-shaped. The eggs have a diameter of about 1.2 mm. They are laid singly on the underside of leaves of the foodplant.

    The species is found as two subspecies :

  • munionga in the mountains of New South Wales and Victoria, and
  • larana Couchman, 1962, on the north-west coast of Tasmania.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp 142-143.

    Arthur Sidney Olliff,
    Stray notes on Lepidoptera. No. 1,
    Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales,
    Series 2, Volume 4, Part 3 (1890), pp. 623-624, No. 18.


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    (updated 25 July 2004, 28 September 2013, 13 September 2021)