Ocybadistes walkeri Heron, 1894
Walker's or Yellow Banded or Southern or Green Dart
HESPERIINAE ,   HESPERIIDAE ,   HESPERIOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Ocybadistes walkeri
(Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

This species was named after the distinguished English insect collector James J. Walker

The Caterpillar has a dark brown head marked with a white wavy band on each side. The body is green. It feeds at night on common grasses ( POACEAE ), including :

  • False Brome ( Brachypodium distachyon ),
  • Grazing Brome Grass ( Bromus stamineus ),
  • Couch ( Cynodon dactylon ),
  • Panic Veldt Grass ( Ehrharta erecta ),
  • Cogon Grass ( Imperata cylindrica ),
  • Guinea Grass ( Panicum maximum ),
  • Seashore Paspalum ( Paspalum vaginatum ),
  • Kikuyu ( Pennisetum clandestinum ),
  • She-oak Grass ( Spartochloa scirpoidea ),
  • Beach Grass ( Thuarea involuta ),

    and also :

  • Flax Lily ( Dianella ) in XANTHORRHOEACEAE.

    Ocybadistes walkeri
    grass shelter
    (Photo: courtesy of Lyn Loger, Nathalia, Victoria)

    It usually rests by day in a shelter formed from rolled blades of grass, and grows to a length of about 2 cms.

    Ocybadistes walkeri
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Harris, Morwell Park, Victoria)

    The adults have dark brown wings with orange markings above. The undersurfaces of the wings have similar markings, but on a greenish yellow background, except for a dark patch along the inner margin of each forewing. The wingspan is about 2 cms. The dark gey patch on each forewing of the males, and the more convex termen of the female forewing, are the best means of distinguishing the sexes.

    Ocybadistes walkeri
    the adults are very fond of golf balls
    (Photo: courtesy of Ted Cadwallader, Swan Hill, Victoria)

    The species is easily confused with the Common Dart. The greenish ground colour beneath the wings of the Ocybadistes walkeri distinguishes them.

    Ocybadistes walkeri

    The eggs of this species are white with red markings. They are laid singly, and attached to the upper surface of a blade of grass by the female butterfly.

    Ocybadistes walkeri
    Mating pair: female on the right, male on the left.
    (Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

    The species occurs as many races through Indonesia and New Guinea, as well as in Australia as:

  • olivia Waterhouse, 1933, in the north of Western Australia and the Northern Territory,
  • sothis Waterhouse, 1933, in Queensland , New South Wales , Victoria , and Tasmania, and
  • hypochlora Lower, 1911, in South Australia.


    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, pp. 204-205.

    Francis Arthur Heron,
    A vist to Damma Island, with notes on the fauna,
    in James J. Walker :
    The Annals and Magazine of Natural History,
    Series 6, Volume 14, Number 79 (1894), p. 106.

    Wesley Jenkinson,
    Life History Notes on the Narrow-brand Grass-dart, Ocybadistes flavovittata flavovittata (Latreille, [1824]) and the Greenish Grass-dart, Ocybadistes walkeri sothis (Waterhouse 1933) Lepidoptera: Hesperiidae),
    Metamorphosis Australia,
    Issue 54 (September 2009), pp. 16-20,
    Butterflies and Other Invertebrates Club.


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    (updated 3 April 2012, 22 September 2013, 8 December 2015, 29 April 2017)