Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Xylorycta luteotactella

Xylorycta luteotactella (Walker, 1864)

Waratah bud borer, Macadamia twig girdler



Xylorycta luteotactella, K-0050, Kuranda, Queensland, collected by David Rentz.

Cryptolechia luteotactella (Walker, 1864. Tineites. List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum. Vol. 29. 562–835 pp. [750].
Cryptolechia cognatella Walker, 1864. Tineites. List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum, 29. 562–835 pp. [751]. Holotype BMNH ♂, Sydney, NSW.
Xylorycta luteotactella Walk. Meyrick, 1890. Descriptions of Australian Lepidoptera. Part I. Xyloryctidae. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 13: 23–81 [61].
Xylorycta luteotactella. Illidge, 1895: Xylorycts, or timber moths. Queensland Natural History Society Transactions, 1, 29-34 [30].
Xylorycta luteotactella Walk. Lower, 1896: A catalogue of Victorian Heterocera. Part xix. The Victorian Naturalist, 12: 149-152 [151].
Neodrepta luteotactella Walk. Turner, 1898. The Xyloryctidae of Queensland. Annals of the Queensland Museum 4: 1–32 [24].
Neodrepta luteotactella Walk. Tillyard, R.J., Insects of Australia and New Zealand. Sydney, Angus & Robertson, 1926. 1-560. [426, Pl. 33:6].
Neodrepta luteotactella Walk. Philpott, 1927: The Maxillae in the Lepidoptera. Transactions and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 57, 721-745 [735].
Phthonerodes luteotactella,Wlk. Fletcher, T. B., 1929, A list of generic names used for Microlepidoptera. Memoirs of the Department of Agriculture of India,  11: 1-244 [175, 237].
Phthonerodes luteotactella, Wallace, C. R. 1936. The twig girdler moth of Australian nut trees. Agric. Gaz. N.S.W. 47(10): [566-568].
Neodrepta luteotactella (Walk). Common, 1970: Lepidoptera (Moths and Butterflies), The Insects of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 765-866 [824].
Neodrepta luteotactella (Walk.). Wallace, 1974: Neodrepta luteotactella (Walk.) (Lepidoptera: Xyloryctidae) in relation to ornamental plants of the family Protaceae. J. Ent Soc. Aust. (N.S.W.) 8 [38].
Xylorycta luteotactella (Walker, 1864). Common, 1990, Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press. 227-230 (229). Nielsen, E.S., Edwards, E.D. & Rangsi, T.V. 1996. Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia. Monogr. Aust. Lepid. 4: i–xiv, 1–529 & CD–ROM [87, 346: Note #135]. Syntype(s) BMNH 5♂, Sydney, NSW.
Xylorycta luteotactella (Walker). Cassis, Gerasimos, 1995, A reclassification and phylogeny of the Termatophylini (Heteroptera: Miridae: Deraeocorinae), with a taxonomic revision of the Australian species, and a review of the tribal classification of the Deraeocorinae. Proc. Entomol. Soc. Wash. 97(2), pp. 258-330 [264].
Xylorycta luteotactella (Walker, 1864). Beccaloni, G. W., Scoble, M. J., Robinson, G. S. & Pitkin, B. (Editors). 2003. The Global Lepidoptera Names Index (LepIndex). World Wide Web electronic publication. [accessed 5 May 2010].
Xylorycta luteotactella (Walker, 1864). Edwards, E. D. (2003), Xyloryctinae. Australian Faunal Directory. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra. [accessed 17 June 2010].

Original description, Walker 1864
Mas. Nivea; caput antice orhraceum; palpi apice ochracei; pedes ochracei, tibiis posticis fimbriatis; alae anticae latiusculae, costa orhracea.
Male. Pure. white, smooth, shining. Head in front, palpi, except the third joint, legs and costa of the fore wings ochraceous. Palpi smooth, slender, much longer than the breadth of the head; third joint setiform, shorter than the second. Antennae smooth, slender. Hind tibiae fringed. Wings rather broad. Fore wings slightly rounded at the tips; fringe tipped with ochraceous; exterior border nearly straight, slightly oblique. Length of the body 4 ½ - 5 lines [9.5 – 10.6mm]; of the wings 13-14 lines [27.5 – 29.6mm].
a.— e. Sydney. From Mr. Lambert's collection.

Synonymic description, Walker 1864
Cryptolechia cognatella.
Mas. Argenteo-alba; oculi ochraceo marginati; palpi ochracei, articulo 3o albo; abdomen vix flavescens; pedes ochracei; anticae fimbria apice costaque ochraceis.
Male. Closely allied to C. placidella. Silvery white. Head above about the eyes, palpi, antennae, legs and costa of the fore wings ochraceous. Third joint of the palpi white, shorter than the second. Abdomen very slightly tinged with yellow, cinereous beneath. Fore wings dark cinereous beneath, except the fringe, which is slightly tipped with ochraceous. Hind wings cinereous beneath along the costa and at the tips. Length of the body 5 lines [10.6mm]; of the wings 13 lines [27.5mm].
a. Sydney. From Mr. Diggles’ collection.

Subsequent description, Meyrick 1890
Xyl. luteotactella, Walk.
(Cryptolechia luteotactella, Walk. 750; C. cognatella, ib. 751.)
Both sexes 17-26 mm. Head white, sides of face broadly orange. Palpi orange, terminal joint white. Antennae ochreous-whitish, base orange. Thorax and abdomen white, anal tuft ochreous-tinged. Legs orange, posterior tibiae white. Forewings elongate, moderate, costa slightly arched, apex obtuse, hind margin straight, rather oblique; shining snow-white; costal edge narrowly orange, sometimes slenderly blackish towards base: cilia white, terminal third orange from below apex to above anal angle. Hindwings grey-whitish, posteriorly suffused with light grey; cilia white.
Sydney and Blackheath (3,500 feet), New South Wales; Melbourne, Victoria; in November, December, February, and March, common, especially in the larval state. Larva 16-legged, stout, cylindrical with scattered long hairs; whitish-grey, with subdorsal, spiracular, and subspiracular rows of large circular black spots, two on each segment; second segment ochreous-brown, with similar spots; head chestnut-brown, shining, forehead black: feeds on Lambertia formosa, Hakea acicularis, Persoonia lanceolata, Banksia latifolia, and probably many of the Proteaceae, making firm broad galleries of silk and refuse amongst twigs, sometimes with a tunnel for retirement in the seed-vessels or midrib of leaves when suitable, gnawing the bark and leaves, in September, October, and December.

Other references

I know Xylorycta luteotactella occasionally to reside in a tunnel in stems of Banksia integrifolia, though usually spinning galleries amongst twigs and leaves, and finally forming a cocoon. (Illidge, 1895).

X. luteotactella, Walk. (Cryptolechia luteotactella, Walk., 750; C. cognatella, ib., 751; Xylorycta luteotactella, Meyr., Tr. Roy. Soc. S.A., 61, 1889).
Melbourne. (Lower, 1896).

Neodrepta luteotactella, Walk. (Cryptolechia luteotactella Walker, 750; C. cognatella, ib. 751 Xylorycta luteotactella, Meyrick, 61.) Brisbane: Mr. Illidge finds the larvae usually between spun-together leaves of Banksia integrifolia, occasionally tunnelling the smaller stems. Also from Ballandean (2,500 feet) near Wallangarra. (Turner, 1898).

Pl. 33, fig 6, Tillyard 1927

Of smaller species we may mention Neodrepta luteotactella Walk. (pl. 33, fig. 6) with smooth silky white forewings; (Tillyard, 1926).

Fig 77: Philpottt, 1927

In Neodrepta [luteotactella] the third segment [of the maxillary palp] is elongate, curved and medially constricted, having all the appearance of being the result of the fusion of the third and fourth. (Philpott, 1927.

The larva of N. luteotactella (Walk.) lives either in a webbing shelter amongst twigs and leaves or in a short tunnel in a twig or the woody fruits of Proteaceae, including Banksia and Hakea, and is a pest of Macadamia. (Common, 1970).

Fig 23.10: Xylorycta luteotactella

The smaller species X. luteotactella (Walk.) (Fig 23.10) is shining white with the costa of the fore wing yellow. It is found in Eastern Australia from Cooktown to Victoria, and is often a pest of native Protaceae grown commercially or as ornamentals (Wallace 1974). Its larva sometimes lives in a small tunnel it bores in a branch of the food plant, covering the entrance with a web of silk and faecal pellets, but more usually in a silk gallery spun among the foliage associated with webbing and faecal material. The food plants include Macadamia, Banksia, Grevillea, Hakea, Telopea, Lambertia, Persoonia, Oreocallis, and even the introduced South African Leucodendron. (Common, 1990).

135. Xylorycta luteotactella (Walker, 1864) and X. cognatella (Walker, 1864) were published simultaneously. Priority was given to X. luteotactella (Walker) by Meyrick (1890a) as first reviser. (Common, 1996).

There are indications that  other termatophylines feed on moth larvae. Kundakimuka queenslandica feeds on the xyloryctine moth, Xylorycta luteotactella (Walker), which feeds on a paperbark species, Melaleuca integrifolia. ...
The association of Termatophylina Indiana with moth larval galleries, suggests that termatophylines may be commonly encountered in sheltered microhabitats. The prey of Kundakimuka queenslandica, Xylorycta luteotactella, is also known to live in small tunnels, which the moth bores in the branches of their food plant (Common 1990). (Cassis, 1995).


Xylorycta luteotactella, ♂ head, K-0050, Kuranda, Queensland. Collected by David Rentz. 


Xylorycta luteotactella, ♂ wing venation.


Xylorycta luteotactella, ♂ genitalia, K-0050, Kuranda, Queensland. Collected by David Rentz.

Xylorycta luteotactella, aedeagus (not to scale), K-0050, Kuranda, Queensland. Collected by David Rentz.

Food plants:
Xylorycta luteotactella, larva in habitat, photo Macleay Museum, Sydney (Don Herbison-Evans).

Larval foodplants: Hakea gibbosa, H. sericea, H. acicularis, Banksia marginata, B. integrifolia, B. latifolia, Grevillea rosmarinifolia, Telopea speciosissima, Lambertia formosa, Persoonia lanceolata, Oreocallis wickhamii, Macadamia sp. and the introduced Leucospermum cordifolium (Proteaceae). (Edwards, 2003).
Flight period: November, December, February, March.
Distribution: New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria. Endemic. (Edwards, 2003).