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


(Photo: courtesy of Liz McGrath, Point Lonsdale, Victoria)

The Caterpillars of this moth are brown with a darker brown head.


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

The caterpillars live communally in silken webs and bore holes in the seed heads of Grass Trees ( Xanthorrhoea, ASPHODELACEAE ) such as :

  • Kawee ( Xanthorrhoea australis), and
  • 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.


    cocoon covered in frass
    (Photo: courtesy of Liz McGrath, Point Lonsdale, Victoria)

    Pupation occurs in the webbed borehole, and the cocoon is covered with frass.


    (Photo: courtesy of Liz McGrath, Point Lonsdale, Victoria)

    The moths have fawn forewings with a variable pale-edged 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.


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

    The species is found all over Australia, including

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


    Further reading :

    Philipp C. Zeller,
    Beiträge zur Kenntniss der Nordamerikanischen Nachtfälter, Besonders der Microlepidopteren, Abtheilung 2,
    Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien,
    Band 23 (1873), pp. 213-214.


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    (updated 5 May 2011, 14 February 2018)