Xylorycta luteotactella (Walker, 1864)
(also known as Neodrepta luteotactella)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

(Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Manly, Sydney, New South Wales)

This Caterpillar is a pest on commercial PROTEACEAE, such as the Australian natives:

  • Waratah ( Telopea speciosissima ),
  • Geebung ( Persoonia lanceolata ),
  • Tree Waratah ( Alloxylon flammeum ),
  • Macadamia Nuts ( Macadamia integrifolia ),
  • Candle Flowers ( Banksia latifolia ),
  • Needlewood ( Hakea acicularis ), and
  • Mountain Devil ( Lambertia formosa ),

    and the introduced

  • Pin Cushion Protea ( Leucospermum cordifolium ).

    The eggs are laid singly at the leaf axils of a foodplant, and are initially yellow, changing to red. They are often laid on a plant that has already been damaged by the caterpillars. The caterpillars bore into the stems and live in the tunnels or in silken gallery made from joined foliage and frass. They are buff coloured, and have lines of brown spots along the body. The head is dark shiny brown, and the prothorax is white. It gives the appearance of wearing a white collar!

    (Photo: courtesy of Donald Hobern, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory)

    The adult moth is shiny white with a yellow strip along the leading edge of the forewings, and a fringe along the rear edge of each hindwing. The abdomen is brown, with white between the segments. The moth has a wingspan of about 2 cms.

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

    This species occurs the whole length of the eastern half of mainland Australia, including

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory. and
  • Victoria.

    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 23.10, p. 229.

    Ian McMillan,
    Xylorycta luteotactella,
    Xyloryctine Moths of Australia,
    Blog, Wednesday, June 30, 2010.

    Francis Walker,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 29 (1864), p. 750, No. 115.

    Charles R. Wallace,
    Neodrepta luteotactella (Walk) (Lepidoptera: Xlyoryctidae) in relation to ornamental plants of the family Proteaceae,
    Journal of the Entomological Society of Australia (N.S.W.),
    Volume 8 (January 1974), p. 38.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 30 August 2011, 13 October 2018, 6 October 2019, 7 September 2020)