Clania lewinii (Westwood, [1855])
Stick Case Moth
(one synonym: Psyche albifrons Wallengren, 1861)
PSYCHIDAE ,   TINEOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
( donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Patricia Gurry, Perth)

These Caterpillars live and pupate in a silken case. to which they attach twigs parallel to the axis of the case. The twigs are of irregular lengths, and are covered in silk.


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 )!


    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 keeps within the case has soft skin and is a dark brown with a row of orange spiracles along each side. The case can grow to a length of up to 3 cms.


    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)

    The adult male is brown with transparent wings. It has a wing span of about 2 cms. The species occurs over the southern half of Australia, including:

  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.


    Further reading :

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


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    (updated 9 September 2011)