Caterpillars feeding on Sundew: Droseraceae.

Harold McQueen and Don Herbison-Evans

We would like to report the finding in April 2015 of two caterpillar species that have been found feeding on Sundew (probably Drosera burmannii, Droseraceae) at North Maclean, Queensland.

1: Buckleria australis sp. nov.

Parva lenis pallide brucus cum rara induti, caput brunneo, et abdomen cum pluribus nigriora verrucae in dorso singulis segmentum, et tres lassus pallore dorso-lateralibus lines.

Figure one shows a small smooth pale brown caterpillar with some sparse white hairs. The caterpillar has a brown head, and an abdomen with several darker nodules on the back of each segment, and three faint greenish dorso-lateral lines. Its length is about 0.5 cm. It is possibly a Plume Moth larva, perhaps a Buckleria species in Pterophoridae. Several species in this genus have been found feeding on Droseraceae in America, Europe and Asia (Matthews, 2009).

figure 1

2: Hyalarcta? droseraphaga sp. nov.

Quae in sacculo brucus cylindricis fuscis, apice leviter apparet omnino finem versus caput contegi particulas terrae virentia, thorace bina duo plana habet partes, una utroque latere.

Figure two shows a dark brown caterpillar in a case, which has a length of about 2 cms. The case is cylindrical, tapering slightly toward the head end. The case appears to be entirely covered in fine particles of vegetation.

figure 2

Figure three shows a close-up of the head and thorax of this caterpillar.

figure 3

The thorax seems to show two flat plates, one each side. We suggest that this caterpillar is a species of Case Moth in PSYCHIDAE.

Sundews are renowned for using their leaves to catch and eat insects. It is interesting that these two species of Lepidoptera seem to encounter no problems in feeding on the leaves.


Debbie L. Matthews,
The Sundew Plume Moth Buckleria parvulus (Barnes and Lindsey) (Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae),
Southern Lepidopterists' News,
Volume 31, Number 2 (2009), Page 74.

(written 9 June 2015, updated 11 July 2019)