Trapezites petalia (Hewitson, 1868)
Common White Spot Skipper
(previously known as Hesperia petalia)
TRAPEZITINAE,   HESPERIIDAE,   HESPERIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Trapezites petalia
(Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

The Caterpillars of this species are stout and brown. They have indistinct dark lines, and a mottled head with central depression. They feed on various species of Mat-Rush (ASPARAGACEAE) such as:

  • Mat Rush ( Lomandra filiformis ),
  • Spiny Headed Mat Rush ( Lomandra longifolia ), and
  • Many-flowered Mat Rush ( Lomandra multiflora ),

    growing to a length of about 3 cms. Each caterpillar lives in a silk shelter in a folded leaf. The young caterpillar leaves a characteristic V-shaped notch where it has been feeding on a leaf. The caterpillar pupates in a new shelter constructed on an adjacent leaf.

    Trapezites petalia
    underside
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The adults are dark brown, with white, cream, and yellow spots on the forewings and an orange patch on each hindwing. The undersides of the forewings are similar, but the hindwings each have a black-edged white spot in the middle. The butterflies have a wing span of about 3 cms.

    The eggs are dome-shaped, and are pale yellow, developing red markings as hatching approaches. They are laid singly, near the base, on a leaf of a foodplant.

    This species occurs in :

  • Queensland and
  • New South Wales.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp 107.

    William Chapman Hewitson,
    Hesperidae,
    Descriptions of One Hundred new species of Hesperidae,
    London, Part 1 (1868), pp. 32-33, No. 25.

    Wesley Jenkinson,
    Life history notes on the Large Yellow Grass-Dart Taractrocera anisomorpha (Lower, 1911) Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club,
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 98 (September 2020), pp. 16-19,


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    (updated 18 November 2009, 14 September 2020)