Taractrocera papyria (Boisduval, 1832)
White Banded Grass Dart
(previously known as Hesperia papyria)
HESPERIINAE ,   HESPERIIDAE ,   HESPERIOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Taractrocera papyria
(Photo: courtesy of Edwin Vela, taken in Bega, New South Wales)

This Caterpillar is green with a brown prothorax and head. It lives in a shelter made from blades of grass curled and joined with silk. It has been found feeding on many grasses from the Grass family ( POACEAE ) including:

  • Couch ( Cynodon dactylon ),
  • Cogon Grass ( Imperata cylindrica ),
  • Snow Grass ( Microlaena stipoides ),
  • Kikuyu ( Pennisetum clandestinum ),
  • Common Reed ( Phragmites australis ),
  • Slender Tussockgrass ( Poa tenera ),

    as well as from the Sedge family ( CYPERACEAE ), including:

  • Lizard's Tail Sedge ( Carex gaudichaudiana ).

    The caterpillar grows to a length of about 2 cms. It pupates in its larval shelter.

    Taractrocera papyria
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

    The upper side of the adult butterfly is dark brown with a number of pale yellow spots and bands on each wing. Each wing also has a narrow white border. Underneath, the wings are fawn with white and pale yellow patches under each wing, and a yellow patch at the base of the costa of each forewing. The male has a thin black line halfway across each forewing. The wing span is about 3 cms.

    Taractrocera papyria
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Museum Victoria)

    The species is found in :

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Lord Howe Island,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

    It exists as two races:

  • papyria in the east, and
  • agraulia (Hewitson, 1868), in the west.

  • Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 199-200.

    Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Dechauffour de Boisduval,
    Faune Entomologique de L'Ocean Pacifique,
    in M.J. Dumont d'Urville: Voyage de Decouvertes de la Corvette l'Astrolabe,
    Division 7, Part 1 : Lepidopteres (1832), p. 166.


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    (updated 10 January 2011, 22 September 2013)