Orthaga thyrisalis (Walker, 1859)
Teatree Web Moth
(previously known as Bertula thyrisalis)
EPIPASCHIINAE ,   PYRALIDAE ,   PYRALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Merlin Crossley, Melbourne, Victoria)

This Caterpillar lives with others of its kind in a communal shelter made of dead leaves and silk webbing. Its body is fawn, with a broad pale green band along the back, which is bisected by a grey line. Its head is dark brown. It is a garden pest, attacking various plants in the family MYRTACEAE such as:

  • Teatree ( Leptospermum species),
  • Geraldton Waxflower ( Chamelaucium uncinatum ), and
  • Paperbark ( Melaleuca species).

    It pupates within its shelter, and the adult emerges about four weeks later

    The adult has short upturned labial palps that project like a beak. The forewings are grey-brown, with pale areas and submarginal zig-zag lines. The hindwings are grey-brown, fading at the bases. The legs have have alternating light and dark bands. The wing margins are chequered. The wingspan is about 3 cms.


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

    The species occurs over the southern half of Australia: including

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


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pp. 67, 348.

    Pat and Mike Coupar,
    Flying Colours,
    New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 83.

    Francis Walker,
    Deltoides,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 16 (1859), p. 167, No. 7.


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    (updated 5 April 2013, 27 October 2013)