Clania lewinii (Westwood, [1855])
Stick Case Moth
(one synonym : Clania tenuis Rosenstock, 1885)
PSYCHIDAE,   TINEOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Clania lewinii

These Caterpillars live and pupate in a silken case. to which they attach twigs parallel to the axis of the case. Ian Common notes that the larval case of this species has all the attached twigs of uniform length. However John O. Westwood illustrates the case of Clania lewinii as having one twig longer than the others.

The caterpillars feed on the foliage of various members of the plant family MYRTACEAE :

  • Gum Trees ( Eucalyptus ),
  • Tea Trees ( Leptospermum ), and also
  • Bottlebrush ( Callistemon ),

    as can be seen from the Bottlebrush twigs used by the caterpillar in the photograph above. Nevertheless, this individual happily accepted leaves of various bipinnate Wattles ( Acacia, MIMOSACEAE ) !

    Clania lewinii
    (Photo: courtesy of Angela Braniff, Stromlo, Australian Capital Territory)

    The caterpillar inside the case has hard skin on the head and thorax, which has a mottled brown and white pattern. This hard skin protects the caterpillar when these parts are protruded from the case for it to walk and feed. The abdomen which it normally keeps within the case has soft skin and is a murky green or brown, with a row of pale spiracles along each side. The case can grow to a length of up to 3 cms.

    Clania lewinii
    (Photo: courtesy of Leonie Kirchmajer, Melbourne, Victoria)

    The adult male is black with translucent grey wings. The thorax of the male has four white stripes. It has a wing span of about 2 cms.

    Clania lewinii
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The species occurs over the southern half of Australia, including:

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

    Clania lewinii
    drawing by John O. Westwood,

    Descriptions of some species of Lepidopterous insects belonging to the genus Oiketicus,
    Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London,
    Volume 22 (1854), Plate 37, fig. 1,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library,
    digitized by Natural History Museum Library, London.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 19.8, p. 179.

    John O. Westwood,
    Descriptions of some species of Lepidopterous insects belonging to the genus Oiketicus,
    Proceedings of The Zoological Society of London,
    Part 22 (1854), pp. 231-232. and also Plate 37, fig. 1


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    (updated 9 September 2011, 26 October 2017, 1 March 2019, 4 October 2019, 22 October 2020, 13 February 2022)