Meyriccia latro (Zeller, 1873)
Lesser Wax Moth
(previously known as Melissoblaptes latro)
GALLERIINAE ,   PYRALIDAE ,   PYRALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Sarah Way,
South Australian Department for Environment and Heritage)

The Caterpillars of this moth live communally in silken webs and bore holes in the seed heads of Grass Trees ( Xanthorrhoea, XANTHORRHOEACEAE ) such as :

  • Yakka ( Xanthorrhoea semiplana).

    The caterpillars grow to a length of about 2 cms. They are a favourite food of cockatoos, which dig them out of the stems.


    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The moths have pale fawn forewings with a brown stripe, and hindwings that are fawn coloured with a silken sheen, and have fringed trailing edges. The moths have a wingspan of about 3 cms.

    The species is found all over Australia, including

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

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    (updated 5 May 2011)