Metura aristocosma (Lower, 1908)
(formerly known as Oiketicus aristocosma)
PSYCHIDAE,   TINEOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Metura aristocosma
(Photo: courtesy of Harvey Perkins, Julatten, Queensland)

This is an enormous Case Moth from tropical Queensland. The Caterpillar covers its case with many small bits of grass, all attached approximately parallel to the axis of the case. The case can grow to a length of up to 30 cms.

Metura aristocosma
(Photo: courtesy of Harvey Perkins, Julatten, Queensland)

The caterpillar itself has a pale yellow head, and has a thorax with black with yellow stripes.

Metura aristocosma
with 50 cent Australian coin
(Photo: courtesy of Harvey Perkins, Julatten, Queensland)

The caterpillar is thought to feed on various MYRTACEAE, including :

  • Mahogany Gum ( Eucalyptus resinifera ), and
  • Golden Penda ( Xanthostemon chrysanthus ).

    Metura aristocosma
    hanging case
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The caterpillar attaches its case to some convenient object, hanging its case vertically, when it pupates in its case.

    Metura aristocosma
    (Photo: courtesy of Stephanie Wilkie-Smith, Cairns)

    The adult moth is basically greyish brown, with yellow hairs on the head and thorax. The wingspan is about 6 cms.

    Metura aristocosma
    digitally reconstructed from photos of specimen from F.P. Dodd
    (Photo: courtesy of Ethan Beaver, Kuranda, Queensland)

    The species has been found in

  • New Guinea,

    as well as in Australia in

  • Queensland.

    This species is often confused with Lomera mjobergi (Aurivillius, 1920), formerly known as Plutorectis mjobergi.


    Further reading :

    Oswald B. Lower,
    New Australian Lepidoptera. No. XXV,
    Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia,
    Volume 32 (1908), pp. 112-113.


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    (updated 30 October 2007, 6 November 2019, 16 October 2020)