Hesperilla picta (Leach, 1814)
Painted Skipper
(previously known as Hesperia picta)
TRAPEZITINAE ,   HESPERIIDAE ,   HESPERIOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Peter R. Samson & Stella Crossley

Hesperilla picta
early instar
(Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island, Queensland)

This Caterpillar is green with a series of dark and pale stripes along the body. The head is brown with a darker stripe down the middle. The Caterpillar lives alone in a loose shelter made by joining foodplant leaves with silk, and grows to a length of about 4 cms.

Hesperilla picta
later instar
(Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island, Queensland)

The Caterpillar feeds nocturnally on :

  • Tall Saw Sedge ( Gahnia clarkei, ( CYPERACEAE ).

    Hesperilla picta
    (Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island, Queensland)

    The caterpillar pupates in its larval shelter. The pupa is basically white, with a brown covering over the developing proboscis and eyes.

    Hesperilla picta
    (Picture: courtesy of CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences)

    The adult butterflies are dark brown, with yellow markings on the wing upper surfaces.

    Hesperilla picta
    (Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Sydney, New South Wales)

    The undersides are marbled dark brown and white. The male butterflies have a wingspan of about 3 cms. The females are slightly larger.

    The eggs are yellow and laid singly on the underside of a leaf of a foodplant.

    Hesperilla picta
    (Photo copyright: Peter Samson)

    This species occurs in eastern Australia, including:

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • Victoria.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp 147-148.

    William Elford Leach,
    Hesperia,
    Zoological Miscellany,
    Volume 1 (1814) p. 126, and also Plate 55, Figs 4, 5..


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    (updated 1 October 2010 27 September 2013)