Hypena subvittalis (Walker, [1866])
(one synonym : Hypena rhynchalis Snellen, 1880)
HYPENINAE ,   NOCTUIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Hypena subvittalis
(Photo: copyright Lyn Finn,
Hunter Region School of Photography in Newcastle,
Macquarie Hills, New South Wales)

These Caterpillars are green, and live in a rolled leaf of their foodplant. They have been found feeding on:

  • Wandering Jew ( Tradescantia albiflora, COMMELINACEAE ).

    The camouflage of the caterpillar is amazing. The caterpillar is inclined to lie along the spine of the leaf. It looks like part of the leaf until examined closely. It also doesn't chew a leaf like most caterpillars do. It seems to graze the green away, and leave a fine netting behind. The Caterpillars grow to a length of about 2 cms. They pupate in their rolled leaf shelter.

    Hypena subvittalis
    (Photo: copyright Lyn Finn,
    Hunter Region School of Photography in Newcastle,
    Macquarie Hills, New South Wales)

    The adult moths emerge after only a week or so in summer in Sydney. The moths of this species have a characteristic posture, like a Concord aircaft about to take off.

    Hypena subvittalis
    (Photo: copyright Lyn Finn,
    Hunter Region School of Photography in Newcastle,
    Macquarie Hills, New South Wales)

    They have dark brown wings with a faint darker diagonal line from the wingtip to halfway along the rear edge of each forewing. They have a wingspan of about 2 cms.

    Hypena subvittalis
    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The labial palps are elongated and held out in front of the head like a long nose.

    Hypena subvittalis
    magnified view of the underside of the labial palps
    (Photo: copyright Lyn Finn,
    Hunter Region School of Photography in Newcastle,
    Macquarie Hills, New South Wales)

    The species occurs in Australia in

  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales, and
  • South Australia.


    Further reading :

    Francis Walker,
    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 34, Supplement part 4 (1866), p. 1143.


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    (updated 15 December 2009)