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

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

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:

  • Fringed Grassflower ( Phlebocarya ciliata ).

    Motasingha trimaculata
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    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.

    Motasingha trimaculata
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    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
    underside
    (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, 28 May 2020)