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Butterflies of Australia
Spotted Sedge-Skipper
Hesperilla ornata  LEACH, 1815
Family - HESPERIIDAE
subfamily - TRAPEZITINAE
Tribe -
Hesperilla ornata Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia David Fischer
Introduction

The subfamily Trapezitinae comprises of about 60-70 smallish, robust, heavy-bodied skippers, all of which are confined to the Australian region ( including New Guinea ). There are 18 genera, of which Trapezites is the largest, with between 15-18 species. Unlike Hesperiinae, males of Trapezitinae do not possess an androconial sex-brand.

There are 12 species in the genus Hesperilla. On the upperside their wings are dark earthy brown. The forewings typically have 3 or 4 white rectangular markings, and the hindwings of most species including ornata have a large central orange patch. Hesperilla ornata was described to science by Leach, the same person who described the Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni which is thought to be the species whose yellow wings first brought the term 'butterfly' into use in the English language.

Hesperilla ornata is found in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Habitats
This species is found in subtropical and temperate grassy habitats east of the Great Dividing Range at elevations between about 100-1500m.
Lifecycle
The egg is white and is laid singly on the underside of leaves of the foodplants - the sedges Carex and Gahnia ( Cyperaceae ). The caterpillar lives within a shelter constructed by silking together 2 or 3 leaves, and moves to a new shelter after each moult. When fully grown it is pale green with dark dorsal and lateral stripes, and a brown head marked with a dark central band. Pupation takes place within the final leaf shelter. The pupa is pale brown and covered with a waxy white powder. It is long and cylindrical, and has a pair of prominent black head horns.
Adult behaviour

Both sexes nectar at the flowers of various bushes. They usually hold their wings erect while feeding but will bask with wings half-open in cool weather conditions.

Hesperilla ornata Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia David Fischer

 

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