Trapezites eliena (Hewitson, 1868)
Orange Ochre
(one synonym : Telesto caecilius Plötz, 1884)
Don Herbison-Evans
Stella Crossley

Trapezites eliena
(Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

The Caterpillar of this species is greenish or pinkish brown, with faint stripes and a speckled appearance. It feeds on various species in ASPARAGACEAE such as:

  • Common Mat-rush ( Lomandra confertifolia ),
  • Narrow Mat-Rush ( Lomandra filiformis ),
  • Spiny Headed Mat-rush ( Lomandra longifolia ), and
  • Many-flowered Mat-rush ( Lomandra multiflora ).

    Trapezites eliena
    head: magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    It lives in a shelter at the base of a foodplant constructed out of silk and leaves. The Caterpillar grows to a length of about 4 cms.

    Trapezites eliena
    (Photo: courtesy of Wes Jenkinson)

    The Caterpillar pupates in the shelter. The pupa is brown with black spots on the mesothorax. It has a length of about 2 cms.

    Trapezites eliena
    (Photo: courtesy of Nick Monaghan, Mt. Tinbeerwah, Queensland)

    The upper side of the adult butterfly is brown with a series of cream and yellow spots on each forewing, and a large yellow band on each hindwing.

    Trapezites eliena
    showing undersides
    (Photo: courtesy of Todd Burrows, South Stradbroke Island, Queensland)

    Underneath, the forewings are similar but redder, and the hind wings are russet, each with a number of variable small white spots, each of which is outlined in black. The wing span is about 3 cms.

    Trapezites eliena
    egg, magnified
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Walker, Frankston, Victoria)

    The eggs are off-white, developing coloured patches as hatching approaches, and are dome-shaped with about 20 ribs. The eggs have a diameter of about 1 mm. They are laid singly on the underside of leaves of a foodplant.

    The males of this species are inclined to congregate around hill tops.

    The species is found along the Great Divide in:

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

    Trapezites eliena
    (Photo: courtesy of CSIRO/BIO Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph)

    Further reading :

    Michael F. Braby,
    Butterflies of Australia, CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 2000, vol. 1, p 110.

    William Chapman Hewitson,
    Descriptions of One Hundred new species of Hesperidae,
    London, Part 1 (1867), p. 32, No. 24.

    Australian Butterflies
    Australian Moths

    (updated 16 September 2010, 21 September 2013, 6 June 2020, 15 September 2021)