Motasingha trimaculata (Tepper, 1882)
Three Spot Skipper
(previously known as Hesperilla quadrimaculata)
TRAPEZITINAE ,   HESPERIIDAE ,   HESPERIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Motasingha trimaculata
male
(Picture: courtesy of CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences)

The Caterpillars of this species are a translucent green, with a big black head. They live by day between leaves of the food plant joined with silk, feeding nocturnally on various Sedges in CYPERACEAE, including:

  • Sword Sedge ( Lepidosperma angustatum ),
  • Black Rapier Sedge ( Lepidosperma carphoides ),
  • Sand Hill Sword Sedge ( Lepidosperma concavum ), and
  • Sticky Sword Sedge ( Lepidosperma viscidum ),

    and in HAEMODORACEAE including:

  • Phlebocarya ciliata.

    Motasingha trimaculata
    (Photo: courtesy of Nick Monaghan, Victoria)

    The upper side of the adult butterfly is dark brown with a series of pale yellow spots on each forewing. The males additionally have a dark line across part of each forewing. Underneath, the wings are pale brown with white spots under each forewing. They also show pronounced white veins, and the hind wings show a number of pale spots outlines in black between the veins. The wing span is about 3.5 cms.

    Motasingha trimaculata
    (Photo: courtesy of Nick Monaghan, Victoria)

    The species is found in various small localities distributed over inland Australia as several subspecies:

  • trimaculata in Victoria and South Australia,
  • dea Waterhouse 1933, in New South Wales,
  • dilata Waterhouse 1932, in New South Wales, and
  • occidentalis Moulds & Atkins 1986, in Western Australia.

  • Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 165-166.

    Johann Gottlieb Otto Tepper,
    The Papilionidae of South Australia,
    Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia,
    Volume 4 (1882), p. 32, and also Plate 2, fig. 1.


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    (updated 20 March 2011, 21 September 2013)