(one synonym : Oecinea scotti Macleay, 1865)
PSYCHIDAE , TINEOIDEA
(Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)
These caterpillars typically feed on
which grows on tree trunks, rocks, old fences, etc. They live in a silken case which they cover in bits of lichen, making a good camouflage. They grow to a case length of about 2 cms.
The caterpillar has an off-white abdomen, but a brown head and thorax. The head and thorax are protected by a hard chitinous skin, whereas the abdomen has only a soft skin. Normally only the head and thorax are protruded from the case when the caterpillar walks and feeds
The adult female moth has black wings with yellow wingtips and patches. The black parts of the wings and the body have a metallic blue sheen. She has long legs which make up for the fact that her wings do not expand properly, so she has to walk everywhere.
She also has a long ovipositor sticking out of her last abdominal segment.
The male has a similar pattern and colouring to the female, but has no iridescence. Also, he has fully developed wings, and can fly quite normally.
This species is found :
as well as the southern half of Australia, including
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 23.7, p. 179.
Harriet, Helena, and Alexander W. Scott,
Australian Lepidoptera and their Transformations,
Australian Lepidoptera, Volume 1 (1864), p. 29, and also Plate 9: lower right.
Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
Part 2 (1854), p. 486.
(updated 8 January 2013, 6 March 2014)