Toxidia rietmanni (Semper, [1879])
White Brand Skipper
(previously known as Telesto rietmanni)
TRAPEZITINAE ,   HESPERIIDAE ,   HESPERIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Toxidia rietmanni
(Photo: courtesy of Martin Purvis, Sydney, New South Wales)

This Caterpillar is brown with a pinkish or greenish tinge between segments, and some obscure darker lines along the body. The head is a mottled dark brown. The Caterpillar makes a tubular shelter by joining leaves with silk, in which it rests by day. At night, it emerges to feed on a number of grasses ( POACEAE ),including:

  • Bordered Panic Grass ( Entolasia marginata ),
  • Graceful Panic Grass ( Ottochloa gracillima ), and
  • Dwarf Panic Grass ( Panicum pygmaeum ).

    The caterpillar grows to a length of about 2 cms. It pupates in the surface debris on the ground.

    Toxidia rietmanni
    Female
    (Specimen: courtesy of The Australian Museum)

    The adult butterfly of this species has brown wings, with two or three white splotches on each forewing. The butterflies have a wingspan of about 2.5 cms.

    Toxidia rietmanni
    Male
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The male butterfly has a sex brand consisting of a white zigzag line outlined in black on each forewing.

    Two main races of this species are found along the east coast of Australia :

  • parasema in northern Queensland, and
  • rietmanni in southern Queensland New South Wales.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp 132-133.

    Gorg Semper,
    Beitrag zur Rhopalocerenfauna von Australien,
    Journal des Museum Godeffroy,
    Volume 5, Heft 14 (1879) p. 187, No. 171.


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    (updated 2 May 2008, 29 September 2013)