(one synonym : Botys pharaxalis Walker, 1859)
SPILOMELINAE, CRAMBIDAE, PYRALOIDEA
note the silk thread: this specimen has just landed on another leaf after dropping from its piece of grass
(Photo: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)
Early instars of this Caterpillar are light green, with a pale brown head with dark markings. Later instars are darker 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.
The adult has fawn wings with rows of indistinct dark spots. It has a wingspan of about 2 cms.
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.
The moth is found over much the world, including
as well as in Australia in
It is often the commonest moth found in Sydney. It has been the object of study by Andrew Ward at the University of Queensland.
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,BR> Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 33.18, pp. 66, 356.
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.
(updated 4 November 2010, 27 January 2013)