Trigonocyttara clandestina Turner, 1945
Less-stick Case Moth
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Trigonocyttara clandestina
case with several sticks attached
(Photo: courtesy of Marlene Walter, Clifton Hill, Victoria)

These Caterpillars live in a silken shelter which it has covered in small bits of vegetation. They sometimes attach one, two, or three twigs, each with a length about equal to the length of the case.

Trigonocyttara clandestina
showing head and thorax
(Photo: courtesy of Alison Milton, Yarramundi Grassland , Australian Capital Territory)

To feed: the caterpillar stretches its head and thorax out of its shelter. These parts of the body have a hard skin, and are off-white with a complex dark brown pattern. It may move to differently coloured vegetation, resulting in coloured bands along the case.

Trigonocyttara clandestina
case with no attached sticks, showing partially exposed empty pupal case.
(Photo courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

Trigonocyttara clandestina
case with one attached stick, showing partially exposed empty pupal case.
(Photo: courtesy of Marlene Walter, Clifton Hill, Victoria)

The caterpillar has been found feeding on

  • Silver Wattle ( Acacia dealbata, MIMOSACEAE), and
  • Gum Trees ( Eucalyptus species, MYRTACEAE).

    Trigonocyttara clandestina
    naked pupa, extracted from its case
    (Photo: courtesy of Marlene Walter, Nowa Nowa, Victoria)

    The caterpillar pupates in its case. The pupa is brown with corrugations along the abdomen. The pupa is partly extruded from the case for the emergence of the male moth.

    Trigonocyttara clandestina
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Harris, Morwell National Park, Victoria)

    The forewings of the adult moths have a scale-like pattern of pale and dark grey. The hindwings are grey, tending to off-white at the bases. The wingspan is about 2.5 cms.

    Trigonocyttara clandestina
    (Photo: courtesy of Marlene Walter, Clifton Hill, Victoria)

    The species has been found in

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory,
  • Victoria, and
  • Tasmania.

    Trigonocyttara clandestina
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    Further reading :

    A. Jefferis Turner,
    A revision of the Australian Nolidae,
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland,
    Volume 56 (1945), p. 65, No. 64.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (written 7 January 2017, updated 29 December 2022)