Elhamma australasiae (Walker, 1856),

Simonsen, Thomas J., 2015, Elhamma Walker (Lepidoptera: Hepialidae) revisited: adult morphology, assessment of recently proposed synonyms and descriptions of two species, Zootaxa 3955 (3), pp. 301-328: 310-314

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Elhamma australasiae (Walker, 1856)


Elhamma australasiae (Walker, 1856) 

( Figs 1 –4View FIGURES 1 – 12, 23–32View FIGURES 23 – 28. EView FIGURES 29 – 32. E, 76View FIGURE 76)

Elhamma inconcluso Walker, F. (1856)  . Lepidoptera Heterocera. List  of the specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the collection of the British Museum. 7: 1508–1808.

Type data: Lectotype Male, BMNH (designated by Tindale (1935)—see ABRS (2009 )).

Subsequent designation: Tindale, N.B. (1935). Revision of the Australian ghost moths ( Lepidoptera, Homoneura  , Family Hepialidae  ). Part III. Rec. S. Aust. Mus. 5: 275–332.

Type locality: Sydney, NSW.

Hepialus australasiae Walker, F. (1856)  . Lepidoptera Heterocera. List  of the specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the collection of the British Museum. 7: 1508–1808.

Type data: Holotype Female, BMNH.

Type locality: Sydney, NSW.

Porina banghaasii Pfitzner, R. (1914)  . Neue Hepialiden. Entomol. Rundsch. 31: 95–96 [96]. Type data: Holotype Male, SMF.

Type locality: Parramatta, NSW.

Material examined. Holotype, female, not dissected (FW: 30.7mm); Lectotype (E. inconcluso  ), male, not dissected (FW: 19.4mm).

Dissected. Males ( BMNH Micro 33263 –whole body dissection; BMNH Micro 33831; BMNH Micro 33832; BMNH Micro 33833), Females ( BMNH Micro 33264; BMNH Micro 33835). Other material examined: males (415); females (267).

Distribution and localities ( Fig. 76View FIGURE 76). Found only in Australia, widespread throughout much of Victoria, eastern New South Wales and south eastern Queensland. Two further populations apparently occur in north eastern Queensland: one around Eungella National Park, and one in Tully between Townsville and Cairns.

Recorded localities by state. ACT: Black Mountain; Giralang; Macquarie.

New South Wales: Albion Park; Allowrie, Killara; Allyn River, Upper Allyn; Barren Grounds fauna res; Batemans Bay; Bawley Point; Border Ranges NP ( Antarctic Beech Lkt); Border Ranges NP (Forest Tops); Bowral; Boyd River; Broulee; Bulli; Bundanoon; 5 miles N of Bungwahl; Burradoo; Buxton; Cabramatta; Cambewarra Mt; 5 km NE of Cambewarra Mt; Caparra; Clyde Mt; Coneac SF; Copeland Tops SF; Depot Beach; Dingo SF; Dorrigo; Durras; Ebenezer; George Basin; 5km SW of Gerringong; Gibraltar Ranges NP; Gosford; Greenwich; Jarvis Bay; Kanagra NP; Kiama; Killara; Lisarow; Manly; Medlow Bath; Menangle Park; Minnamurra Falls; Mittagong; Mt Kaputar; Mt Keira; Mt Tomah; Myall Lakes; Narara; 4 km NE Nerriga; Newnes Plateau; North Sydney; Nowra; Otford; Ourimbah SF; 3 miles S of Port Macquarie; 2.7km NE of Queanbeyan; Roseville; Royal (Sydney) NP; Springwood; Sydney; Tooloom Scrub; Ulladulla; Washpool; Wedderburn; Wingham; 9 miles NE of Windsor; Wilton ( CSIRO Exp. Farm); Wollongong;.

Queensland: Brisbane; Camira; Cougal Creek, Eungella NP; Dalrymple Hts Road, near Eungella; Lammington National Park (sometimes as " National Park Queensland"—including Binna Burra;); Manly; Mary Cairncross; Stanthorpe; Tallebudgera Vly falls area; Tambourine Mt; Toowoomba; Tully; Upper Tallabudgera;.

Victoria: Anglesea; Aspendale; Ballarat; Balwyn; Banksia Peninsula; Beaconsfield; Bentleigh; Black Rock; Black Snake Range; Blackburn; Camberwell; Cann River; Cape Conron; Carlisle River; Coburg; Condah; Crib Point; Dromana; Ferntree Gully; Flowerdale; Forrest; Frankston; Garfield; Gembrook; Glen Waverley; Gruyere; Hastings; Heyfield; Holey Plains SP; Kallista; Lake Entrance; Little Desert; Longford; Melbourne; Mallacoota; Mitcham; Moe; Moorabbin; Mordialloc; Morwell NP; Mt Angus Creek; Mt Cannibal East; Mt Martha; Nar Nar Goon; Nowa Nowa; Nunawading; Nyora; Ocean Groove; Park Orchards; Providence Ponds; Red Hill; Riddells Creek; Stoney Creek; Tanjil River; Traralgon Creek; Tyers River; Valencia Creek; Warrandyte; Warrangul; Wensleydale; Windsor; Wingan; Wonnangatta; Yarra Junction

Notes to distribution: Tindale (1935) listed a single Western Australian female labelled "K.S.G" and two associated, unlabelled males in the Australian Museum, Sydney. He noted they were slightly different in appearance (paler and more ochreous) than eastern specimens, but suggested that this may be due to their "state of preservation" (Tindale 1935, p. 278). I have not been able to locate these specimens, and have not seen any other specimens from Western Australia; hence I have not included these records in the distribution data. Furthermore, some specimens in MNHN were simply labelled "Verraux, Tasmania". These specimens were likely collected by the botanist and ornithologist Jules P. Verraux who collected in Australia for the MNHM in the 1840 s (e.g. https:// www.anbg.gov.au/biography/verreauz-jules.html). Since I have seen no other specimens from Tasmania, I consider the locality records dubious and have not included them in the distribution data.

Flight period: Specimens have been collected from early January to early May (2 / 1-5 / 5) with most records being from February and March.

Diagnosis. Small to medium size. Both sexes can readily be recognized by the small, but sharp, tuft of piliform scales protruding horizontally over the eye from the ventral base of the scape. Males can be recognised by the following combination of characters: hind wings uniformly golden-beige, at most with greyish dusting centrally. Females can also be recognized by the long, narrow wings; the uniform golden-beige ground colour of both wing pars; and the numerous, small, darker spots each comprised by few scales, studded across the forewing.

Redescription male. Small (FW: 12.7–20.8mm). Forewing posteriorly dark greyish-brown; anteriorly goldenbrown. HW with CuA 1 and CuA 2 originating on M 3 and the M-stem respectively, with no M 3 -CuA 1 or CuA 1 - CuA 2 cross veins present. Wings otherwise as in diagnosis. Wing vestiture type- 2 bilayer, both ground and cover scales elongate without a dentate apical margin; both scale types with primary and secondary ridges and large windows on abwing surfaces; adwing surfaces of both types with well-developed primary ridges, windows and cross-ridges. Head with golden-brown, short, semi-rough vestiture dorsally, and protruding, rough vestiture frontally; antennae with scape scaled, otherwise naked. Pro- and mesothorax golden-brown; metathorax paler golden-yellow; legs all with normal, dense grey-brown and golden-brown vestiture; legs with tarsal claws short and stout with a clear basal point; arolium melanised and U-shape. Abdomen basally and ventrally golden yellow; darker greyish-brown disto-dorsally. S 3–6 without dark spots; posterior edge of S 3–6 smooth.

Genitalia. Sternum 8 ( Figs 27–28View FIGURES 23 – 28. E) short with rounded lateral and anterior sides, and a sharply inwardly bent, sclerotised, posterior ridge with a broad pointed central projection. Tergal lobe clearly bilobed and setose. Pseudoteguminal lobes high and broad with a pointed latero-basal corner; pseudoteguminal arms strongly sclerotised, originating low on the lobes, both dorsal and ventral arms present; dorsal arms long and slender, recurved towards the tergal lobe; ventral arms long, basally slender and sharply bent towards trulleum, arms below trulleum broader, terminating in a strongly melanised tip just above juxta. Intermediate plate small and narrow, synclerotised with dorso-basal corner of the pseudoteguminal lobe. Valva long and narrow, sacculus long and setose basally; a very large, curved tooth present disto-ventrally on sacculus; valva proper narrow, club-shape and setose. Trulleum bilobed, attached basally to the base of juxta by a narrow, membranous connection; attached high on the ventral pseudoteguminal arms by a very narrow membranous connection. Juxta deeply cup-shaped with an anterior ridge and a centro-ventral lamella. Phallus approximately twice as long as height of genitalia. Vinculum and saccus broadly U-shaped with a dorsal cross-ridge and a U-shaped sulcus separating vinculum proper and the apodemal vinculum (sensu Nielsen & Kristensen 1989).

Redescription female. Medium size (FW: 18.9–38.8mm). Wings as in diagnosis. Head with golden-yellow, short, semi-rough vestiture dorsally, and upturned, short vestiture frontally; antennae with scape and pedicel scaled, otherwise naked; pedicel with ventral point; frontoclypeus scaled; labial palpus short, either two-segmented or terminal segment very short; with ventral scale tuft from palpus base; eyes almost at high as head, but far from meeting. Pro- and mesothorax golden-yellow; metathorax paler beige-yellow; legs all with normal, dense goldenyellow vestiture; hind legs without tibial pecten. Abdomen basally and ventrally golden yellow; darker greyishbrown disto-dorsally.

Genitalia: Dorsal plate large and bi-lobed with a small central incision dorsal to the anus. Subanal plates very large and taking up almost the entire area between the dorsal plate and the ostium with the sclerotisation surrounding the anus: subanal plates divided centrally by a narrow, vertical groove running from the anus to the ostium; horizontal, transverse grooves present on both plates lateral to the vertical groove. Antevaginal lamella trilobed, with the individual lobes widely separate: ventral lobe small, narrow and pointed with a setose tip; lateral lobes positioned just below the lateral corner of the dorsal plate, each lobe narrow, triangular and setose. Ductus bursae long, membranous and unmodified; corpus bursa an ellipsoid broadening of the terminal section of the bursa, similar in structure to the ductus. Spermatheca typically hepialoid (see Kristensen 1978), with a few concentric rings around the terminal end.

Biology. Nothing is known about the biology of this species, but Common (1990, p. 149) states that "adults fly in grassy areas, and the larvae probably feed on grass".


Royal Botanic Gardens, National Herbarium of New South Wales


Forschungsinstitut und Natur-Museum Senckenberg


Australian National Fish Collection


Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle


John May Museum of Natural History