Stericta orchidivora (Turner, 1904)
(formerly known as Orthaga orchidivora)
EPIPASCHIINAE,   PYRALIDAE,   PYRALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Stericta orchidivora
(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Mt Molloy, Queensland)

These Caterpillars are dark brown and shiny. They taper gently from head to tail.

Stericta orchidivora
(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Mt Molloy, Queensland)

The caterpillars live in long scalloped shelter covered in frass, suspended in the plant it is feeding on. The shelter can reach lengths of 5 cms. The caterpillars grow to a length of about 2 cms.

Stericta orchidivora
(Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Mt Molloy, Queensland)

The caterpillars have been found eating

  • the pseudo-bulbs of Australian Native Orchids ( ORCHIDACEAE ) and
  • the leaves of Buttonwood ( Glochidion apodogynum, ( PHYLLANTHACEAE ).

    The caterpillars leave their shelter, and pupate in an oval silk cocoon under the soil. The cocoon has a length of about 1.7 cms.

    Stericta orchidivora
    (Photo: courtesy of Dick Whitford, Mt Molloy, Queensland)

    The adult moth has a complex pattern of green and shades of brown on the forewings, including dark areas at the wingtips and tornuses. The green appears to fade in old dead specimens. The hindwings are pale brown, darkening toward the margins. The wingspan is about 2 cms.

    Stericta orchidivora
    Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, from
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art

    The species is found in :

  • Queensland.

    Stericta orchidivora
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)


    Further reading :

    Buck Richardson,
    Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
    LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 187.

    A. Jefferis Turner,
    A preliminary revision of the Australian Thyrididae and Pyralidae, Part I,
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland,
    Volume 18 (1904), p. 199.


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    (written 22 May 2016, updated6 April 2019)