Trapezites praxedes (Plötz, 1884)
Southern Silver Ochre
(previously known as Telesto praxedes)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Trapezites praxedes
(Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Sydney, New South Wales)

This Caterpillar is reddish or greenish brown, with a faint dorsal line. The head is brown with white dots. It lives in a shelter made at the foot of a foodplant. It has been found feeding on various species of Mat-Rush (ASPARAGACEAE) such as :

  • Common Mat-rush ( Lomandra confertifolia ),
  • Delicate Mat-rush ( Lomandra laxa ),
  • Spiny Headed Mat-rush ( Lomandra longifolia ),
  • Twisted Mat-rush ( Lomandra obliqua ), and
  • Major Mat-rush ( Lomandra spicata ),

    The pupa is rust colored with black markings, and is covered in a white waxy powder. It is formed in the larval shelter or a curled leaf nearby.

    Trapezites praxedes
    (Photo: courtesy of David Fischer, Wollongong, New South Wales)

    The adult butterfly is dark brown with several yellow patches on each fore wing, and a single yellow patch on each hind wing. The underside of each fore wing is similar to the upper surface but paler.

    Trapezites praxedes
    (Photo: courtesy of Nick Monaghan, Queensland)

    The hind wings of the male underneath are brown with light and dark brown patches. The hind wings of the female underneath are brown with outlined white spots. The wing span is about 3 cms.

    The butterflies make quite a loud humming noise as they chase each other around. The humming is really loud. Martin Purvis reported that at one point there were about 4 of these things zipping around near his head, and it was like being surrounded by hummingbirds.

    Trapezites praxedes
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker, Hornsby, New South Wales)

    Initially the eggs are white, but develop coloured markings as hatching approaches. The eggs are dome shaped with about 20 ribs. The eggs have a diameter of about 1 mm. They are laid singly on the bases of leaf stems of foodplants.

    The species is found along the coastal plains of

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

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp 96-97.

    Carl Plötz,
    Die Hesperiinen-Gattung Telesto Hüb., und ihre Arten,
    Stettiner Entomologische Zeitung,
    Volume 45, Parts 10-12 (1884), p. 378, No. 5.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 20 March 2011, 26 September 2013, 6 June 2020, 16 September 2021)