Trapezites sciron Waterhouse & Lyell, 1914
Mallee Ochre
TRAPEZITINAE,   HESPERIIDAE,   HESPERIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

This Caterpillar is fawn with a darker dorsal line. The head is spotted with two stripes on it. The caterpillar feeds on various species of Mat-rush (ASPARAGACEAE), including:

  • Swamp Thornseed (Acanthocarpus canaliculatus),
  • Preiss' Thornseed (Acanthocarpus preissii),
  • Tufted Mat Rush (Lomandra caespitosa), and
  • Iron Grass (Lomandra collina),

    hiding in a shelter constructed out of dead leaves and other debris, initially at the base of a tussock. Later instars may construct their shelter a little way from the foodplant.

    Trapezites sciron
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Museums Victoria)

    The adult butterfly is brown with several pale yellow patches on each forewing.

    Trapezites sciron
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Museums Victoria)

    The underside of each forewing is similar to the upper surface but paler. The hindwings underneath are brown with outlined white spots. The wing span is about 3 cms.

    Trapezites sciron
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker, Kiata, Victoria)

    The eggs are hemispherical with about 20 ribs. Initially they are white, but develop coloured markings as hatching approaches. They have a diameter of abot 1.2 mm. They are laid singly on young leaves of a foodplant.

    The species is found as two races in small pockets across the south of the continent:

  • eremicola Burns, [1948], in Victoria and South Australia,
  • sciron in Western Australia.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp 101-102.

    A.N. Burns,
    New geographical races of Australian butterflies,
    Memoirs of the National Museum of Victoria, Melbourne,
    Volume 15 (dated 1947, issued 1948), p. 91, and also pl. 5, figs 3-6.

    Gustavus Athol Waterhouse & George Lyell,
    The Butterflies of Australia,
    Angus & Robertson, 1914, Sydney, p. 178, No. 249, and also Plate 37, Figs 746-747.


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    (updated 18 November 2009, 21 September 2013, 6 June 2020)