Athrotaxivora tasmanica McQuillan, 1998
XYLORYCTIDAE ,   GELECHIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: by Peter McQuillan, University of Tasmania,
courtesy of Australian Journal of Entomology)

This Caterpillar is grey with a pair of dorsolateral dark stripes and a brown head. It grows to a length of about 2 cms. Near the end of a branch of its foodplant, it constructs a shelter out of silk and frass in which it hides by day. Nocturnally it emerges to feed on the needles of :

  • King William Pine ( Athrotaxis selaginoides, CUPRESSACEAE ).


    (Photo: by Peter McQuillan, University of Tasmania,
    courtesy of Australian Journal of Entomology)

    The adult moths have mottled grey forewings and plain grey hindwings. Their wingspan is about 2 cms.

    Despite GELECHIOIDEA being the largest superfamily in Australia in terms of number of species, this Caterpillar is the only known species in the superfamily that feeds on an Australian native conifer.

    The species has only been found in

  • western Tasmania.


    Further reading :

    Ian McMillan,
    Athrotaxivora, Xyloryctine Moths of Australia,
    Blog, Monday, October 11, 2010.

    Peter B. McQuillan,
    Athrotaxivora tasmanica gen. & sp. nov. (Lepidoptera: Gelechioidea): An unusual moth associatecd with King William Pine Athrotaxis selaginoides D. Don., Taxodiaceae) in Tasmanian montane rainforests,
    Australian Journal of Entomology,
    Volume 37, Part 3 (September 1998), pp. 206-213.


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    (updated 30 November 2011)