Herpetogramma licarsisalis (Walker, 1859)
Sod Webworm
(one synonym : Botys pharaxalis Walker, 1859)
SPILOMELINAE,   CRAMBIDAE,   PYRALOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Herpetogramma licarsisalis
(Photo: courtesy of Rod Elder, Queensland Beef Industry Institute)

This Caterpillar is greenish brown, with a pale brown head with dark markings, and with pairs of dark warts on each segment along the back.

The caterpillars feed on a wide variety of Grass species ( POACEAE ), and can cause severe damage to pastures and lawns. Each caterpillar lives in a tube made of leaves of its food plant, lined with silk, at the soil surface. When disturbed, it can wriggle violently backward, and if possible drop on a silken thread. It grows to length of about 2 cms.

Herpetogramma licarsisalis
(Photo: courtesy of Ian Bevege, Lilli Pilli, New South Wales)

The adult has fawn wings with rows of indistinct dark spots. It has a wingspan of about 2 cms.

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

The moth has a characteristic posture when at rest. It sits with its wings flat, and half open, with the hind wings half covered by the fore wings, and with the abdomen curved up.

Herpetogramma licarsisalis
Kiribati, 1994

The moth is found over much the world, including

  • Cook Islands,
  • Hawaii,
  • Indonesia,
  • Malta,
  • New Zealand,
  • Turkey,
  • United Kingdom,

    as well as in Australia in

  • Western Australia,
  • Northern Territory,
  • Queensland, and
  • New South Wales.

    It is often the commonest moth found in Sydney. It has been the object of study by Andrew Ward at the University of Queensland.

    Herpetogramma licarsisalis
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Ian Bevege, Lilli Pilli, New South Wales)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,BR> Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 33.18, pp. 66, 356.

    Francis Walker,
    Pyralides,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 18 (1859), p. 686, No. 242.

    Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
    A Guide to Australian Moths,BR> CSIRO Publishing, 2007, p. 133.


    previous
    back
    caterpillar
    Australian
    Australian Butterflies
    butterflies
    Australian
    home
    Lepidoptera
    Australian
    Australian Moths
    moths
    next
    next
    caterpillar

    (updated 4 November 2010, 14 July 2018)