Cryptoptila australana (Lewin, 1805)
Leaf Roller Moth
(previously known as Tortrix australana)
ARCHIPINI,   TORTRICINAE,   TORTRICIDAE,   TORTRICOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@yahoo.com)
and
Pat & Mike Coupar
and
Stella Crossley

Cryptoptila australana
(Photo from: "Flying Colours", Coupar & Coupar, 1992)

This Caterpillar is dark brownish green with pale yellow spots and sparse white hairs all over its body. It has a pale brown head and anal plate. The caterpillar has been found feeding on:

  • Elderberry Panax ( Polyscias sambucifolia, ARALIACEAE ), and
  • Waratah ( Telopea speciosissima, PROTEACEAE ).

    Cryptoptila australana
    drawing by John Lewin, listed as Tortrix australana,

    Prodromus Entomology, Natural History of Lepidopterous Insects of New South Wales,
    London : T. Bensley (1805), Plate 17,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    The caterpillars live in a communal shelter of foodplant leaves joined with silk. The caterpillar grows to a length of about 3 cms.

    Cryptoptila australana
    pupa, drawing by John Lewin, listed as Tortrix australana
    ,
    Prodromus Entomology, Natural History of Lepidopterous Insects of New South Wales,
    London : T. Bensley (1805), Plate 17,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    It pupates in its shelter.

    Cryptoptila australana
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Aila Keto, Springbrook, Queensland)

    The adult have grey wings with rusty brown markings. The males have a more cryptic pattern than the females

    Cryptoptila australana
    female
    (Photo: courtesy of Aila Keto, Springbrook, Queensland)

    The females have a bolder pattern. The moths of both sexes have a wingspan of about 3 cms.

    Cryptoptila australana
    female, drawing by John Lewin, listed as Tortrix australana
    ,
    Prodromus Entomology, Natural History of Lepidopterous Insects of New South Wales,
    London : T. Bensley (1805), Plate 17,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    The species occurs over south-eastern Australia, including

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

    Cryptoptila australana
    male, drawing by John Lewin, listed as Tortrix australana
    ,
    Prodromus Entomology, Natural History of Lepidopterous Insects of New South Wales,
    London : T. Bensley (1805), Plate 17,
    image courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library, digitized by Smithsonian Libraries.

    Cryptoptila australana
    underside
    (Photo: courtesy of Aila Keto, Springbrook, Queensland)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pp. 32, 278.

    John William Lewin,
    Prodromus Entomology,
    Natural History of Lepidopterous Insects of New South Wales,
    London : T. Bensley (1805), p. 13, and also Plate 17.

    Pat and Mike Coupar,
    Flying Colours, New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, p. 90.


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    (updated 25 January 2009, 3 August 2015, 21 October 2019, 15 November 2020, 13 October 2021)