What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Zygaenidae

Overview

Many zygaenid (called burnets or foresters) adults fly and feed at flowers during the day. Thyrassia inconcinna , without spurs, from North Qld, resembles a small ctenuchine arctiid; larvae of Thyrassia feed on Vitis . Pollanisus with brilliant coppery or metallic blue scales, is the largest genus in Australia; the larvae of P . viridipulverulenta feed in late winter on flower-buds and leaves of Hibbertia . The wasp-like Hestiochora tricolor has larvae feeding on Eucalyptus and Syncarpia . The females of Pollanisus and Hestiochora have a large, dense anal tuft. Burlacena aegerioides lacks ocelli and has partly transparent wings.

Description

Small; head smooth-scaled; ocelli present or absent; chaetosemata present (absent in the African subfamily Charideinae), often large; antennae filiform, serrate, bipectinate or clubbed, often thick; proboscis well developed in Australian taxa, unscaled; maxillary palps small, 1- or 2-segmented; labial palps ascending, short; epiphysis present or absent; spurs 0-2-4, 0-2-2 or absent; hind tibiae smooth; wings rounded, often broad, CuP absent and chorda present in Lactura group, 1A + 2A with short fork; hind wing with 1-3 frenular bristles in female of Australian species, Rs sometimes reduced basally, Sc + R 1 close to or fused with Rs at base or at midlength, CuP present; apophyses in ovipositor small and slender in Australian species. Larva short and broad, with secondary setae on verrucae and lateral, gland-like structure on segments 2 and 7 in Zygaeninae and Procridinae, crochets in uniordinal mesoseries, anal fork sometimes present. Lactura group larvae slug-like, with eversible lateral lobes, prothorax with trisetose L group, crochets in a biordinal, mesal penellipse. Larvae feed exposed. Pupa stout and flattened, abdominal T2-8 or T3-8 each with transverse row of spines; with a few hooked anal setae; cremaster absent; protruded at ecdysis through broad, horizontal 'frog-mouth' slit in elongate or broadly oval, slightly domed cocoon.

Distribution

Species of the Lactura group occur mainly in northern Australia. The usually bright red or yellow adults are usually nocturnal and are probably distasteful. The striking, slug-like larva of Lactura suffusa feeds exposed on the leaves of Planchonella australis and pupates in a stiff cocoon in a crevice on the trunk of the host; it has white eversible lateral lobes and its cuticle is sticky. L . caminaea is locally common in south-eastern Qld and eastern N.S.W.; the larvae feed on Ficus . Anticrates (4 spp.) is a widely distributed genus with brightly patterned species in northern Australia. Thyridectis (1 sp.) and Aictis (1 sp.) are endemic genera.

  • Pollanisus viridipulverulentus

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