Habits - Can't fly when cold. Run up and down leaves and twigs on warm autumn days.
Colour - Cream
Body - Cylindrical. Up to 10mm long.
Mouthparts - Chewing.
Antennae - Short. 3 segments.
Legs - 3 pairs of thoracic legs (with 5 segments) near the head and prolegs near the tail.
Head - Hard.
Thorax - 10-11 segments. Spiracles on segments 1 to 8. Prolegs on segments 3-6 and 10.
Habits - Herbivorous. Mines the leaf leaving a pale thin skin on the top and bottom sides of the leaf.
Pupa - In ground over spring and summer.
Moths fly from April to May and lay eggs singly on underside of leaves. Eggs hatch and young caterpillars mine leaves from May to September. The larva then constructs an elliptical case by cutting 5mm oval section from the top and bottom skins of the leaf and joining them with silk. This drops to the ground and the larva buries it 20-30mm deep and remains inside the case until February. It then pupates until emergence in April or May.
Origin and History:
Caterpillar feeds by mining between the leaf surfaces of eucalypts, especially jarrah, leaving a blister like cavity with droppings and often the caterpillar inside. Many of these may be on each leaf and this gives the tree a scorched appearance. Attacks are usually worst along forest edges, roadsides and in parkland cleared areas.
Management and Control:
Insecticides are relatively ineffective on a large scale. Systemic insecticides injected into the trunk of trees are effective for small plantations.
Parasitic wasps and birds attack the larva.
CSIRO. The Insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press. (1991) p844.
WADA. Insects and Allied Pests of Extensive Farming. Department of Agriculture - Western Australia Bulletin No. 4185. p88.
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