Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    plana
    Genus
    Synemon
    Family
    Castniidae
    Order
    Lepidoptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Hexapoda
    Phylum
    Arthropoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    Wing span up to 3.4 cm

Introduction

The females rarely fly, males can be seen flying in a zig-zag pattern in the warmest part of the day looking for the females.

Identification

Females: Forewings are dark grey with lighter grey patterning; hind wings are reduced and are bright orange with black spots along the edges. Males: Forewings are dark brown with lighter grey patterning, hind wings bronze to brown with dark brown patches. Both males and females have clubbed antennae.

Habitat

Native temperate grasslands and open grassy woodlands

Distribution

Found in Victoria, ACT and a small area in NSW.

Feeding and diet

Larva feeds on the roots of native grasses. The adults have no functional mouthparts so they do not feed.

Breeding behaviours

Breeding occurs between mid-October and January. Once the moths have mated, females spend their adult life laying eggs within clumps of Wallaby Grass. Females are estimated to lay from 100 to 150 eggs. The eggs hatch after about 21 days and the larvae (caterpillars) then tunnel into the ground, where they live for one to three years. Adult moths live for only one to four days.