Saturday, September 25, 2010


Cryptophasa Lewin, 1805

Cryptophasa Lewin, 1805. Prodromus Entomology. Natural History of Lepidopterous Insects of New South Wales. London : T. Bensley pp. 18 pls and text [11]. Type species: Cryptophasa irrorata Lewin, 1805 by subsequent designation, see Duponchel, P.A.J., in Orbigny, 1844.
Cryptophasa Lewin, 1805. Prodromus Entomology. Natural History of Lepidopterous Insects of New South Wales. London : T. Bensley pp. 18 pls and text [15]. Type species: Xylorycta strigata (Lewin, 1805) q.v.. An anomalous subsequent description using the same generic name, replaced by Xylorycta Meyrick in 1890.
Nycterobia Kirby, 1815, in Kirby & Spence. Introd. Ent. 1 : [299] Errata [nomen nudum].
Nycterobius Kirby & Spence, 1815. An Introduction to Entomology, or Elements of the Natural History of Insects. London : Longman Vol. 1 pp. 1–512 [299] Errata [nomen nudum].
Cryptophasa Lewin. Boisduval, 1832, Voyage de Découvertes de l'Astrolabe exécuté par Ordre du Roi, Pendant les Années 1826–1827–1828–1829, sous le Commandement de M.J. Dumont D'Urville. Faune entomologique de l'Océan Pacifique, avec l'illustration des insectes nouveaux recueillis pendant le Voyage. Part 1. Lépidoptères. Paris : J. Tastu pp. iv 5–267. [229].
Nycterobius MacLeaey [sic]. Boisduval, 1832: Voyage de Découvertes de l'Astrolabe exécuté par Ordre du Roi, Pendant les Années 1826–1827–1828–1829, sous le Commandement de M.J. Dumont D'Urville. Faune entomologique de l'Océan Pacifique, avec l'illustration des insectes nouveaux recueillis pendant le Voyage. Part 1. Lépidoptères. Paris : J. Tastu pp. iv 5–267. [229].
Cryptophasa Lewin. Duponchel, in Orbigny, C. d' (ed.), 1844, Dictionnaire universel d'Histoire Naturelle, résumant et complétant tous les faits présentés par les encyclopédies, les anciens dictionnaires scientifiques, les oevres complètes de Buffon, et les traités spéciaux sur les diverses branches des êtres et des divers phénomènes de la nature. Paris : Renard, Martinet u. Co. Vol. 4 pp. 752 [434].
Cryptophasa Lewin, 1822. Duncan, 1852, Entomology, Exotic Moths,  in Jardine, W. ed, The Naturalist’s Library, vol XXXII [pl. 10, 117-123].
Nycterobius Freeman, J.J., 1852, Life of Kirby: [227] [nomen nudum].
Cryptophasa Lewin. Zeller, 1853: Microlèpidoptera, vol. 1, 81-386 [350].
Cryptophasa. Stainton, Zeller and Douglas, 1861: The Natural History of the Tineina. Vol. VI, Part I, Depressaria, 1-283 [4].
Cryptophasa. Wallengren, 1861, Lepidoptera. Species novas descripsit. Kongliga svenska fregatten Eugenies resa omkring Jorden under befäl af iakttagelser på H.M. Konung Oscar Den Förstes befallning utgifna af K. Svenska vetenskaps Akademien. 2 (Zoologi 1) (Insecta). 351–390, pls 6–7 pp. [387].
Cryptophasa, Lewin. Scott, 1864, Australian Lepidoptera and their transformations, drawn from the life by Harriet and Helena Scott. 1. London : John van Voorst [7].
Zitua Walker, 1866, Supplement 5. List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum. Vol. 35. 1534–2040 pp. [1841]. Type species: Zitua balteata Walker, 1866 by monotypy.
Cryptophaga Meyrick, 1890. Descriptions of Australian Lepidoptera. Part I. Xyloryctidae. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 13: 23–81 [24] [unjustified emendation of Cryptophasa Lewin, 1805 with the same type species].
Cryptophaga. Illidge, Rowland, 1895. Xylorycts, or timber moths. Queensland Natural History Society Transactions, 1, 1895, 29-34.
Cryptophaga. Lower, 1895, A catalogue of Victorian Heterocera. Part xix. Victorian Naturralist 12: 149-152 (149).
Cryptophasa Lewin, 1805. Kirby, W.F., 1897. A Handbook to the Order Lepidoptera, Lloyd’s Natural History, Vol V, part III. Edward Lloyd, London, 1-332 [303].
Cryptophaga McLeay. Walsingham, 1898, Proceedings of the Entomological Society of London, vii-xii, following p. 444.
Zitua, Walker. Walsingham, 1898: Proceedings of the Entomological Society of London, vii-xii, following p. 444.
Zitna. Turner, 1900, misspel., New Micro-lepidoptera -- mostly from Queensland. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia   24: 6-23 [7].
Cryptophaga McLeay. Walsingham and Durrant, 1900, Catalogue of Eastern and Australian Lepidoptera Heterocera in the Collection of the Oxford University Museum, Part II, Noctuina, Geometrina and Pyralidina by Colonel C. Swinhoe; Pterophoridae and Tineina by the Right Hon. Lord Walsingham, and John Hartley Durrant, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1-630 [548-550].
Cryptophasa. Tillyard, R.J., Insects of Australia and New Zealand. Sydney, Angus & Robertson, 1926. 1-560. [425].
Cryptophasa MacLeay [sic], 1805 [Cryptophasidae]. Fletcher, T. B., 1929, A list of generic names used for Microlepidoptera. Memoirs of the Department of Agriculture of India,  11: 1-244 [61].
Cryptophasa McLeay, 1805. Diakonoff, 1954, Microlepidoptera of New Guinea. Results of the third Archbold Expedition (American-Netherlands Indian Expedition 1938-1939). Part 4. Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen 2 ser. 50 (1): 1-191 [89. 109-127].
Cryptophasa. Common, Australian Moths, Jacaranda Press, 1963, 1-128 [50].
Cryptophasa. Common, 1970: Lepidoptera (Moths and Butterflies), The Insects of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 765-866 [824].
Cryptophasa Lewin. Common, 1990, Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press. 227-230 [230].
Cryptophasa Lewin, 1805. Common, in Nielsen, Edwards, & Rangsi, 1996, Checklist of the Lepidoptera of Australia. Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera, 4: i-xiv, 1-529 & CD-ROM [86].
Cryptophasa Lewin, 1805. 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 12 April 2010].
Cryptophasa Lewin, 1805. Edwards, E. D. (2003), Xyloryctinae. Australian Faunal Directory. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra. [accessed 16 June 2010].
Cryptophasa. Zborowski and Edwards, 2007, A Guide to Australian Moths, CSIRO, 1- 214 [76].

Original description, Lewin, 1805
PALPI curved up before the eyes, divergent, round and terminating in a point.
TONGUE short, or not at all discoverable.
ANTENNAE filiform, in the males pectinated, and terminating in a thread at the extremity.
WINGS smooth, and generally glossy. [Description of Cryptophasa attached to C. irrorata Lewin, 1805, C. albacosta Lewin, 1805, C. rubescens Lewin, 1805, and C. pultenae, Lewin 1805].
BOMBYX CRYPTOPHASA. with dusky gray anterior wings thickly speckled with brown and while dots, a conspicuous ear-like mark, and a angular patch of dark dots near the shoulder. Posterior wings dark, with a silvery margin.
THE ova of this moth being deposited on the bark of the Casuarina figured, where some branch shoots from the stem; the larva, when bred, enters immediately into the bark, boring downwards a cylindrical cell to the centre of the stem, which it increases as it grows in bulk, and uses as a retreat and dwelling-place, weaving over its entrance a convex covering, in 'which is interwoven the ends of leaves together with some of its excrement. See fig. 5. This covering is fastened securely at the upper end, while the lower is left in such a manner that the larva can pass and repass at pleasure. After sun-set it goes in search of food, which it conveys, a leaf at a time, to its dwelling, where it is deposited by being dragged part down the cell: thus the larva proceeds during the whole night, and on the approach of day retires with precipitation to its retreat, where it lies with its head towards the entrance, feeding on the leaves thus provided, and never ventures out during the day. In this retreat. the larva also changes to pupa, in January; spinning no web, remains in that state fourteen days, and the moth is on the wing in February. The male is shewn at 3; the female 4; the larva at 1; the pupa in a section of its dwelling when in the larva state, at 2; and the covering over the entrance, shewing the ends of the leaves the larva has provided, at 5. This species of Casuarina is found growing in barren forests, where also the moth inhabits. (Lewin, Prodromus Entomology, 1805, P. 9, Pl. 10.) 

Subsequent description, Lewin, 1805.
PALPI curved upwards before the eyes, divergent, round and terminating in a point .
ANTENNAE thread shaped, in both sexes.
TONGUE spiral, short, and sometimes scarcely discernable. [Description of Cryptophasa attached to Xylorycta strigata (Lewin, 1805)].

Subsequent description, Duncan, 1852
The genus Cryptophasa (or, as it was termed, section of the genus Bombyx) was established in 1822 by Mr. Lewin, for the reception of several very interesting moths, inhabitants of New South Wales, remarkable for their economy in the larva state, imitating in this respect the goat moths, Aegeriae, &c., but differing from them materially in the winged state.)* The wings are smooth and generally glossy; the antennae of the males pectinated, but terminated by a thread at the extremity. The female antennae are filiform; the palpi are curved up before the eyes, divergent, round, and terminating in a point; and the spiral tongue is described as short or not at all discernible. In several respects this genus seems allied to the Arctiidae, but its true relations are doubtful.
* The genus corresponds to Nycterobius of Macleay. We have placed it provisionally at the end of the Hepialidae, in consequence of the similarity of the habits of the larvae.

Subsequent description, Zeller 1853
Cryptophasa Lewin.
Char. essent. Palpi breviusculi reflexi acuti. Haustellum brevissimum. Antennae ♂ ciliatae, apicem versus nudae, ♀ breves. Abdomen carinatum. Alae breviter ciliatae.
Dies Genus ist von Orthotelia sehr sicher verschieden, von Cryptolechia mag der Unterschied weniger scharf sein. Doch mögen die kurzen Taster, der kurze Saugrüssel und die kurzen Fühler des Weibchens zur Trennung von der ohne Zweifel sehr artenreichen Gattung genügen. Da ich jetzt nur die Beschreibung einer Art und die ungenügenden Mittheilungen Lewin’s zur Hand habe, so kann ich im Allgemeinen nicht mehr sagen, als dass Cryptophasa hauptsächlich auf Australien angewiesen und nicht arm an Arten zu sein scheint, und dass einige Arten eine Grösse haben, nach welcher Lewin sie zu den Spinnern rechnete.

Subsequent description, Scott, 1864.
Cryptophasa, Lewin.
Alae anticae, longae, angustae, sericeae, incumbentes, costa arcuata. Corpus crassum, pilosum, abdomine alas posticas superante, apice in maribus cirrato; in feminis rotundato. Palpi divergentes, usque ad verticem recurvi, articulo terminali, gracili et acuminati; secundo dimidia parte majori; basali minuto. Antennae in maribus aut bipectinate aut subtus setaceae. Pedes antici, minimi; intermedii majores, calcaribus duobus apicalibus armati; postici magni, validi, quatuor calcaribus longis; tibiis densae pilosis. Larva agilis, mollis, cylindrica, variegata plerumque latera et dorsum maculis ornata, paucisque setis delicatis, capitis et segmento anterioro squamosis; sexdecim pedibus instructa; in ligno solitaria habitans, et folia illata in crypta depacens. Pupa, elongata antice aliis cornea, aliis spinosa; una quidem specie eminet e collo asperum quoddam tuber bifurcatum et recurvum; segmentis abdominalibus annulis serratis plus minusve armatis.
Fore wings long, narrow, glossy, with the costa arched, and decumbent in repose. Body stout, pilose; abdomen extending beyond the hind wings, tufted in the male, rounded in the female. Palpi divergent, recurving to nearly the top of the head; terminal joint thin and pointed, 2nd about half as long again, basal small. Antennae, male either bipectinated or with tufts of ciliations beneath. female setaceous. Legs, anterior very small, 2nd pairs larger, with 2 apical spurs; posterior large and powerful, with 4 long spurs and densely pilose on tibiae. Larvae soft, cylindrical, variously coloured, generally ornamented with dorsal and lateral macular marks, and a few fine setae; head and 1st segment squamose; inhabit interior of wood solitarily, feeding on leaves taken to their dwellings; 16 feet; and active in all their movements. Chrysalis, elongated, with the anterior portion in some simply horny, in others spiny, and in one example with a singular shagreened projection from the neck, bifurcate and recurved; abdominal segments armed more or less with serrated wings.

Subsequent description, Meyrick 1890
Cryptophaga, Lw.
Head with appressed hairs; ocelli absent; tongue short. Antennae moderate, in male bipectinated throughout or nearly, basal joint moderate, swollen and densely scaled above, without pecten; Labial palpi moderately long, curved, ascending, second joint with dense appressed scales, somewhat rough beneath, terminal joint shorter than or rarely as long as second, smooth or slightly roughened anteriorly, acute or tolerably pointed. Maxillary palpi very short, appressed to tongue.  Thorax smooth. Abdomen stout, sides more or less clothed with dense projecting hairs or scales. Anterior and middle tibiae densely rough-scaled, anterior tarsi slightly thickened with scales, posterior tibiae densely rough-haired above and beneath. Forewings with vein 1 long-furcate towards base, 2 from 2/3 – 5/6, or rarely almost from angle, 3 from angle, 7 and 8 stalked, 7 to hindmargin, 11 from middle. Hindwings over 1, oblong-ovate; towards base below median, and towards inner margin densely clothed with long hairs, vein 1b shortly furcate at base, 3 and 4 from a point or short-stalked, 5 parallel to 4, 6 and 7 from a point or short-stalked or rarely separate but closely approximated at base, 8 connected with cell at a point towards base.
The name of this genus is printed Cryptophasa by Lewin, but the second part of this word is meaningless, whilst the habits of the larvae show clearly that Lewin intended the name as I have written it; I have therefore made the correction. No confusion need occur with the Coleopterous genus Cryptophagus, since the different termination is a sufficient distinction.
The genus is distinguished from all but Pilostibes by the pectinated antennae of the male. In most of the species the larvae excavate tunnels into the solid wood of trees, within which they reside, closing the entrance with a barricade of silk and refuse; from these they emerge by night and bite off entire leaves, which they drag into the burrow for food. The barricade is evidently intended not to conceal the entrance, for it is rather conspicuous, but as a bulwark against ants, which are the worst enemies of all larvae. These large larvae are not only a favourite food of the natives, but are also frequently eaten by whites, either raw or roasted, and are much esteemed by those who can get over early prejudices. The peculiar habits are, however, not invariable in the genus, and some of the smaller species show still those simpler and more usual methods of life, from which this more elaborate system has been developed.
The perfect insects are in general rarely met with at large, although the larvae are often common. I believe the species flourish in the drier districts, where other Lepidoptera are scarce; and it is probable that judicious research will hereafter largely add to their number.
Synonymic description, Walker, 1866
Mas. Corpus crassum. Proboscis brevissima. Palpi graciles, glabri, breves, subascendentes; articulus alas lanceolatus, parvus. Antennae robustae, serratae. Abdomen alas posticas sat superans; latera apicem versus dense fasciculata; fasciculus apicalis spissus.  Pedes breves, sat validi; femora fimbriata; calcaria longa, gracilia. Alae anticae elongate, spissae, sat angustae, subacutae; posticae angulo interiore bene determinato.
Male. Body very stout. Proboscis very short. Palpi smooth, slender, slightly ascending, extending a little beyond the head, much shorter than the breadth of the latter; third joint lanceolate, about one-fourth of the length of the second. Antennae stout, serrated. Abdomen extending rather beyond the hind wings, densely tufted on each side near the tip; apical tuft dense. Legs rather short, rather stout; femora fringed; spurs long, slender. Wings dense, elongate, rather narrow. Fore wings slightly acute; exterior border convex, rather oblique. Hind wings with the interior angle rather prominent; interior border with a long dense fringe.

Other references

Obs. All the larvae of the section Cryptophasa, which we have figured, seal themselves in by an agglutinated covering across the cell or chamber, when they transform to pupae; through which, however, the moth can force from below: yet it is a strong bulwark against external foes, and effectually supplies the purposes of the old covering at the mouth of the cell, which falls off soon after the larva's final retirement. We have named the section Cryptophasa from the secret and secure manner in which this new and evidently natural division of moths live in the larva state: reflecting on the singularity of which we are struck at the wonderful means of self-preservation which the great Author of nature has bestowed on different members of the animal creation; among which we know insects of every country abound with examples. Our author tells us, the great enemy of which those larvae seem so cautious, is the mantis, or walking leaf, which abound in new South Wales, devouring multitudes of larvae in the day-time. He also tells us the natives of that country seek those wood-boring caterpillars as a delicious article of food, climbing high trees, and searching for them with great labour. (Lewin, 1805, note following C. pultenae, P. 14).

... and lastly, the natives of New Holland eat the caterpillars of a species of moth of a singular new genus, to which my friend Alexander MacLeay, Esq., has assigned characters, and, from the circumstance of its larva coming out only in the night to feed, has called it Nycterobius. (Kirby, 1815, p. 307).

... and those of one singular genus before adverted to (Nycterobius) are remarkable for providing in the night a store of food which they consume in the day; (Kirby, 1815, p. 392).

Another tribe of larvae, not very numerous, content themselves for their habitations with simple holes, into which they retire occasionally. Many of these are merely cylindrical burrows in the ground, as those formed by the larvae of field-crickets, Cicindela, and Ephemerae. But the larvae of the very remarkable lepidopterous genus Nycterobius of Mr. MacLeay) before alluded to, excavate for themselves dwellings of a more artificial construction; forming cylindrical holes in the trees of New Holland, particularly the different species of Banksia, to which they are very destructive, and defending the entrance against the attacks of the Mantes and other carnivorous insects by a sort of trap-door composed of silk interwoven with leaves and pieces of excrement, securely fastened at the upper end, but left loose at the lower for the free passage of the occupant. This abode they regularly quit at sunset, for the purpose of laying in a store of the leaves on which they feed. These they drag by one at a time into their cell until the approach of light, when they retreat precipitately into it, and there remain closely secluded the whole day, enjoying the booty which their nocturnal range has provided. One species lifts up the loose end of its door by its tail, and enters backward, dragging after it a leaf of Banksia serrata, which it holds by the foot-stalk.2
2 Lewin's Prodromus Entom. p. 8.
(Kirby, 1815, p. 293).

Nycterobius. Macleay.
Les insectes de ce genre habitent seulement la Nouvelle-Hollande. Par leur port ils ont quelque ressemblance avec Lithosia Quadra. La chenille, qui ressemble à celle des Cossus, reste cachée tout le jour dans les trous qu'elle pratique dans les troncs d'arbres, et sort la nuit pour manger les feuilles. (Boisduval, 1832).

CRYPTOPHASA (χρυπτος cache; ϕασος, phase). ins. - Genre de Lépidoptères de la famille des Nocturnes établi par Lewin et adopte par M. Boisduval, qui en décrit 5 espèces, toutes de la Nouvelle-Hollande, dans l'entomologie du Voyage de l'Astrolabe, 1re partie, p. 229 à 233). Ces Lépidoptères se rapprochent par leur port des Lithosies, et leurs chenilles, qui ressemblcnt à celles des Cossus restent cachées pendant le jour dans les trous qu'elles se pratiquent dans le tronc des arbres et n'en sortent que la nuit pour se nourrir de leurs feuilles. Nous citerons comme type la Cryptophasa irrorata Lew. (Prodr. ent., pl. 10, p. 11), qui à les ailes supérieures et le corselet d'un brun noirâtre, fortement poudré de blanchâtre, avec une tache centrale, presque lunulée plus obscure; les inférieures sont noires, avec la frange grise. Sa chenille vit dans les forêts, sur les Casuarina.         (D).
(Duponchel, in Orbigny, 1844).

In the European fauna Depressaria comes very near to the genus Gelechia, but in other parts of tlie globe several genera intervene, especially the extensive genus Cryptolechia. In this genus the abdomen is distinctly convex, and the palpi have not the divided brush on the second joint. Cryptophasa is an allied genus, which appears confined to Australia and Tasmania; in it the abdomen is much flattened in the male, but the second joint of the palpi is simply thickened, and never assumes the brush-like appearance. These insects are of large size, some of them larger than Tryphaena Pronuba, and from the pectinated antennae of the males Lewin described them as Bombyces. (Stainton, Zeller and Douglas, 1861).

Trib. GELECHIDAE. Staint.
(Wallengren, 1861; decribes Cryptophasa erythrotaenia [Phytotrypa erythrotaenia, Oecophoridae] and C. melanostigma [Maroga melanostigma.]).

(Read on 15th December, 1892).

The moths of the family Xyloryctidae were known to me many years ago , and the curious habits of the larvae formed the subject of frequent investigations, but not until the present year did I prosecute any active search for them. This season I have been eminently successful, as the exhibit illustrating these remarks will prove. Many of you I have no doubt have noticed those strange webs mixed with dejectamenta, little bits of bark, and woody matter, which serve to hide the entrance to their burrows or tunnels in the stems and branches of young trees. The caterpillars form these tunnels and so cover them, I believe, to protect themselves from external foes, such as birds (they are certainly not protection against the ichneumonidae, for these insects destroy them wholesale), for being fat, naked grubs with only a few slight hairs, they no doubt would form a delicious morsel. In support of this latter opinion we have the fact that the aboriginals in former days sought out these larvae, cut them out of their holes, and ate them on the spot, as we would an oyster. These caterpillars are all nocturnal in their habits, and, as far as my researches show, only leave their chamber in the stem during the nighttime, when they hurriedly bite off a leaf and retire bearing it off with them. It is fit curious sight to watch them dragging off the leaf and entering the hole backwards (which they do with considerable celerity if at all disturbed), raising at the same time the covering which conceals the entrance to their burrow with their hinder extremity, and pulling the leaf after them. The leaf is now secured with a few silken threads, and the insect feeds on it at its leisure without fear of being snapped up by some outside enemy. Some of the species, however, do not appear to feed on the leaves, but devour the soft bark round the entrances to their burrows, spinning the web-covering for some distance, and indeed extending it as they exhaust the food supply in the immediate neighhourhood of the hole. There is one species at present known which makes no burrow or tunnel, but simply spins its covering on the tree stem and feeds on the soft bark underneath, and when changing to the pupa state forms a cocoon of silk and bits of bark and excrementitious matter mixed. Others again spin long silken galleries amongst the leaves and twigs whilst many tunnel into the cones and seed-heads of plants and trees. Mr. Meyrick states that T. laetiorella resides in a barricaded tunnel in stems of eucalyptus, etc.; whereas I find it to be a bark-feeder and that it spins a cocoon. I have reared many and have never found them as stated by him, though it is not unlikely that his statement is correct, for 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. The larger and more characteristic species of the family are all, however, tunnel-makers. As the larvae grow bigger they extend the tunnel in size, and this seems to form the chief impediment to rearing them from a young state, as the wood dries up when cut off and becomes too hard for their mandibles, hence they either die in the tunnel or leave it. I have several times succeeded in getting them to form a silken chamber along the interior angle of the box in which they have been placed and so reared them without affecting the normal size of the imago. It is therefore necessary for success in securing the perfect insects to obtain their caterpillars when full-fed or nearly so or else when they have already passed to the chrysalis state. They seal themselves in the burrow when about to change, and some of them do this very artfully. One or two species spin out a spout-like web of silk and bits of bark mixed, which looks like a little piece of dead or decaying stick; another species spins a web flush with the bark and so exactly like it that it is almost impossible for it to be distinguished. Others again simply spin a strong web inside and across the opening of the tunnel, whilst some content themselves with only partially closing the hole with a curved piece of brown horn-like substance, the nature of which is unknown to me, and occasionally the opening is quite unprotected. Just before pupation takes place the external covering is usually torn away, and a very careful search is then necessary to secure examples. They remain in the pupa state for a very variable period, some emerging in a fortnight or three weeks and others after as many months. As a rule the trees are not seriously damaged by their burrows, though odd branches become sickly and die. The large Maroga unipunctana, however, is an exception, for it feeds on the bark and frequently eats completely round the stem, thus ringbarking the tree. Dogwood and wattle trees may often be found quite dead above from this cause. On the moth emerging the hole soon commences to close up and no external trace of it is left after a little time, except perhaps a slight scar which also in course of time disappears. The abovementioned M. unipunctana is said to be very destructive in Victoria to fruit trees, but I have not noticed its appearance here in such trees, possibly because my experience is limited to my own garden. I have, however, noted a large species amongst leguminous trees in the Botanic Gardens, one of which, in front of the curator's house, has been utterly destroyed by them. The pupae of the species of Xyloryctidae are usually cylindrical, conical at the hinder extremity and rather flattened towards the head, with one notable exception. In the insect affording it the chrysalis has a strange bifurcated projection in front, which appears to be for the purpose of cutting, auger-like, a way through the very thick and strong web the larva spins in front of its tunnel before changing to the chrysalis. Though many of the insects are quite common in the larval state, yet the moths are of great rarity and are seldom seen even by experienced entomologists. Securely as they appear to be hidden in these tunnels, yet they have enemies in various ichneumons with long ovipositors, which find them out and deposit their eggs in their bodies thus fortunately preventing them from becoming too plentiful. The larva of a beetle belonging to the Cleridae, Natalis sp., also preys upon them, and finally changes to the perfect state in the gallery lately occupied by the caterpillar of the Xyloryct moth.
Protective resemblance has evidently much to do with the explanation of the different colours and patterns displayed by many of the moths. For example the close similarity in colour between Uzucha humeralis and the bark of the spotted gum and between Cryptophaga nubila and that of the teatree is very obvious, and becomes significant when we remember that the trees mentioned are the food plants of these moths. At the same time other Xyloryctidae, e.g., C. epadelpha, seem to be coloured In a manner specially suitable for rendering them conspicuous. (Illidge, 1895).

genus cryptophasa. (Cryptophasidae)
Cryptophasa, Lewin, Lepid. Ins. N. S. Wales, p. II (1805); Duncan, in Jardine's Nat. Libr. Exot. Moths, p. 117 (1841).
The antennae are pectinated nearly to the tips in the male, but are simple in the female. The proboscis is obsolete, and the palpi are cylindrical, curved upwards, and pointed. The wings are glossy, with short fringes. The larva has sixteen legs, and is long and cylindrical. It bores into the trunks of trees, and emerges at night to provision its burrow with leaves, on which it feeds.
These Moths, though now referred to the Tineae, more resemble Bombyces or Noctuae in size and appearance; and they are among the largest Tineae known. (Kirby, 1897).

March 2nd, 1898. Exhibitions, etc.
Lord Walsingham exhibited a series of the larger and more striking species of Xyloryctinae, a subfamily of the Gelechiadae, especially characteristic of the Australian fauna. The series illustrated the life-histories and the great disparity in colour and form between the sexes of many species, and included the following specimens : Uzucha humeralis, Walk., ♂, ♀, larvae, pupae and mantle; Pilostibes enchidias, Meyr., ♀; Cryptophaga russata, Butl., ♂, ♀; C. rubescens, Lew., ♂, ♀, larva, pupae; C. irrorata, Lew., ♂, ♀, pupae; C. albicosta, Lew., ♀; C. nubila, Lucas, ♀; Zitua balteata, Walk., ♂, ♀, pupae, burrow; Z. nigricincta, Turner, ♂, ♀, pupae; Z. ? epadelpha, Meyr., ♂, ♀, larva, pupae, mantle; Z. ? intermedia, Lucas, ♂, ♀, pupae; Z. ?  sacerdos, MS., ♂, ♀, pupa, burrow; Maroga unipunctana, Don., ♂, ♀, pupae; M. mythica, Meyr. ♂, ♀; M. undosa, Lucas, ♂, ♀, pupae; Compsotorna oligarchica, Meyr., ♂, ♀; Illidgea epigramma, Meyr., ♂, ♀, pupae, pupa in burrow; Xylorycta flavicosta, Lucas, ♂, ♀, pupae, mantle; Telecrates porphyrinella, Walk., ♂, ♀, pupa.

On this exhibition Lord Walsingham read the following notes:
"The genus Cryptophasa (which has been very properly corrected to Cryptophaga by Mr. Meyrick), as well as the species published in Lewin's ‘Natural History of the Lepidopterous Insects of New South Wales’ (London, 1805), have been accredited to Lewin, but it would appear that they should be attributed to McLeay on the authority of a letter from A. McLeay to the Rev. W. Kirby, dated 20th February, 1805, and published in Freeman's ‘Life of the Rev. William Kirby,’ pp. 226—27 (1852). In this letter McLeay says 'I have been describing eighteen Botany Bay Lepidopterous insects, which are about to be published by Lewin, with all their changes and natural history. Amongst them, there is a most distinct new genus (in my opinion), which I propose to name Nycterobius from Νυκτεροβιοσ, noctu victum quaerens. The caterpillars form for themselves holes in the trunks of trees, where they hide themselves in the day-time : at night they come out and gnaw off leaves, which they drag to their holes; and when they have provided a sufficiency for the next day's consumption, they retire and feed leisurely, with their heads toward the mouth of the hole, which is covered by a curious contrivance.
" This note can only relate to Cryptophasa, and this name was probably adopted as being more descriptive, if read in the sense of Mr. Meyrick's correction of the word to Cryptophaga, which was obviously intended.
" The following notes have been compiled from a series of very interesting letters received from Mr. Dodd of Queensland, to whose exertions I am indebted for the rich series of bred examples of many species, from which the few specimens exhibited have been chosen.
" The larger species of Cryptophaga are very rarely met with in the perfect state, even by experienced collectors who spend the greater part of their time collecting in the bush; indeed, it is not unusual for a whole season to pass by without a single specimen being seen. Some of the species are occasionally taken at light, and several of them feign death when roughly disturbed. The species have therefore to be bred; and this is not a very easy matter, for, as a rule, the larvae are very restless and wander about, although some will stay in their burrows after the branch has been cut down, and will feed upon leaves placed near. C. rubescens is particularly difficult to deal with. It is therefore necessary to collect the insects in the pupal state, when they are not easy to find, owing to their having destroyed the conspicuous mantle before sealing up the burrow. The system found most successful is to locate the larvae, and in October, after they have pupated, to cut down the branches containing the burrows.
" The larvae must always leave their burrows at night when in quest of food, and seem to wander about a good deal, for quite a network of silken threads may be noticed along the branches which they traverse. As a rule they crawl up the branch in which they reside, though the threads may sometimes be noticed upon a different branch. They have been observed at night biting off the leaves and returning with them to their burrow (which generally is only excavated to the length of the larva), retiring tail first and securing the leaf to the web, which masks the entrance of the burrow. When the leaves become too dry, they are evidently cast off by most of the species, but the webs of Z. nigricincta often have a dozen or more fragments attached to them. The bark around and under the protective covering is eaten to the wood, and kept clean of the exuding gum by a spreading of silk. Most of the species of the family do this; if they did not, the hole and surrounding space would be covered with gum and the pupa would be suffocated. Sometimes the gum escapes and, breaking down this protective barrier, does occasion the death of the pupa by suffocation. A clear smooth space is therefore kept under, above, and on each side of the web, extending under the outside bark. Upon the approach of pupation the web immediately in front of the entrance to the tunnel is torn away, and the hole itself is closed with a stiff parchment-like plug or operculum. The protective mantle which masks the entrance to the burrow is sometimes securely fastened to the tongue of bark jutting beneath, and to this web the excrement is freely attached, as are also the discarded skins of the larva itself—often four or five heads may be found upon the mantle. ...
[ ... see Uzucha humeralis ...]
... " The Xyloryctinae are preyed upon by a host of ichneumons and other flies, and a species of cricket is frequently dislodged from the burrows,—whether it devours the larva or pupa or whether it merely takes possession of the empty burrow has not yet been ascertained. That many of the larvae lose their lives when out at night foraging for leaves is clearly shown by the number of untenanted burrows met with.
"The pupa of one species at least (C. rubescens), as shown by an example in the drawer, assumes a very peculiar form which may or may not be protective. There are on the head a pair of chitinous excrescences arranged in the form of open mandibles; they themselves are of course immovable but, having regard to the fact that the pupa lies in a narrow hole with its head towards the opening, and that it has at least sufficient freedom to move the head from one side to the other, it is difficult to resist the impression that an enemy attempting to enter the burrow would regard these nippers as formidable objects. Is it possible that the resemblance to the jaws of some of the larger Hymenoptera may be specially intended to alarm crickets? These Mr. Dodd has frequently found in the burrows of other species which do not possess the appendages, and possibly also in those of C. rubescens.
" One of the most striking peculiarities of the genus Cryptophaga is to be found in the differences between the males and females. In some few cases (e.g. C. rubescens and C. irrorata) the males and females are alike and therefore quite normal in this respect; but in numerous other cases the male develops more or less black colouring while the female remains white, instead of being, as one might have expected, darker than the male. In such species as Z. epadelpha and Z. intermedia, the hindwings of the male become black, the forewings being white like those of the female. In Z. sacerdos the male is black but retains a white thorax, while in Z. nigricincta the male is wholly slaty grey, and in the luteous species Z. balteata the male is dark chocolate, and differs so widely in shape and size from the female as to have been put at one time in a separate genus. I leave it to those who have studied such subjects with more attention than myself to endeavour to give a rational interpretation of these differences. So far as my experience goes, the prevailing rule among the Lepidoptera is that the female is more sluggish and more protected by coloration than the male, but here we have apparently an exactly opposite process. The males appear to be gradually assuming a protective colouring, which in the conspicuous white females is wholly disregarded, with the single exception
of M. unipunctana, which has a nearly white male and a grey female." (Walsingham, 1898).

(Note.—This genus was originally known as Cryptophasa. Meyrick, however, considered the second part of the word meaningless, and consequently altered the word to the above.) (Lower, 1895).

This is the best-known genus of the family. The perfect insects are large,  and for the most part conspicuous, but are rarely met with. They may, however, be reared in abundance from the larvae, as has been done with conspicuous success by Mr. R. Illidge. The increased material so obtained has enabled me to remove from the genus epigramma, Meyr, porphyrinella, Walk., and cephalochra, Lower, of which species only the females were previously known. For the first I have instituted the new genus Illidgea; the remainder are referred to Xylorycta.
The genus Pilostibes, Meyr., I have dropped, as in all the specimens I have examined veins 7 and 8 are stalked. I can only conjecture that Mr. Meyrick was misled by an abnormal specimen in which vein 7 happened to be absent. P. enchidias, Meyr., is included under the present genus; P. stigmatias, Meyr., under Xylorycta. (Turner, 1898).

cryptophaga, M'Leay.
cryptophasa, McLeay. (‡cryptophaga, Meyr.). = nycterobia (McLeay), Kby. = nyctebobius (McLeay), Spence. = zitua, Wkr. = pilostibes, Meyr.

Type, α. Cryptophaga albicosta, McLeay (Scott, 1864).
bombyx, cryptophasa, [McLeay], Lewin's Prodr. Ent. NH. Lp. Ins. NSW. ii (1805).   nycterobia, [Kby.], Kby. and Spence, Intr. Ent. (i edn.) I. 299 (1815): (2 edn.) I. 306 (1816).   nycterobius, [Spence], Kby. and Spence, Intr. Ent. (i edn.) I. 388,451-2 (1815): (2 edn.) I. 392-3, 456-7 (1816).   bombyx, cryptophasa, [McLeay], Lewin's NH. Lp. Ins. NSW. n (1822); Thon's Ent. Archiv, I. 35 (1827). [Duncan, Jardine's Nat. Lib. Ent. VII. 117 (1841).]   nycterobius, McLeay, Freeman's Life of Kirby, 227 (1852).   cryptophasa, Z., Lin. Ent. IX. 350 (1854); Wkr., Cat. Lp. Ins. BM. XXIX. 708 (1864); Scott, Transf. Austral. Lp. I. 7-8 (1864).   cryptophaga, Meyr., Tr. Roy. Soc. S. Austral. XIII. 27-8, No. 3 (1890).   cryptophasa, W. F. Kby., Lloyd's NH. HB, Lp. V. 303 (1897).   cryptophaga, Trnr., Ann. Queensl. Mus., No. IV. 5 (1897).

[NB. McLeay, i. l to Kirby, 20. II. 1805, states that he has ‘been describing eighteen Botany Bay Lepidopterous insects, which are about to be published by Lewin, with all their changes and natural history’, vide Freeman's Life of Kirby, 227 (1852) and Westw., Pr. Ent. Soc. Lond. (n. s.) II. 55 (1853). Cryptophaga is referred to under the name Nycterobius. On the strength of this letter the Lepidoptera in Lewin should be attributed to McLeay.]

Type, β. Zitua balteata, Wkr.
= zitua, Wkr., Cat. Lp. Ins. BM. XXXV. 1841 (1866);

Type, γ. Pilostibes enchidias, Meyr.
= pilostibes, Meyr., Tr. Roy. Soc. S. Austral. XITI. 24. 26, No. 2 (1890); Trnr., Ann. Queensl. Mus., No. IV. 5 (189.7). (Walsingham and Durrant, 1900).

The finest species belong to Cryptophasa, Xylorycta, Maroga and Uzucha. The depredations of the large genus Cryptophasa are very noticeable in the bush; ... (Tillyard, 1926).

Crypt.        CRYPTOPHASA, MacLeay 1805.
            Lewin’s Lep. Ins. N. S. Wales, p. 11; type irrorata, MacLeay (E. Australia).
      || Nycterobius, Freeman 1852 (non-descr.).
      || Maroga, Wlk. 1864.
      || Zitua, Wlk 1866.
      || Pilostibes, Meyr,. 1890.
      || Cryptophaga, Meyr. 1890 (emend.).
(Fletcher, 1929).

Cryptophasa McLeay, 1805 (fig. 653)
Cryptophasa Mac Leay, 1805, in Lewin, Lep. N. S. Wales, p. 11. Walsingham, Lep. Het. Mus. Oxon., vol. 2, p. 542, 1900. Meyrick, Exot. Microl., vols. 2 -4, 1916 - 1930. Fletcher, Mem. Agric. Ind., Ent., vol. 11, p . 61, 1929.
Nycterobius Freeman, 1852, Life of Kirby, p. 227 (non descr.).
Maroga Walker, 1864, List Lep. Het. Brit. Mus., vol. 29, p. 827.
Zitua Walker, 1866, ibidem, vol. 35, p. 1841.
Pilostibes Meyrick, 1890, Trans. Roy. Soc, S. Austral., vol. 13, p. 26.
Cryptophaga, Meyrick, (emend.), ibidem, pp. 26-28, 1890.
Caenorycta Meyrick, 1922, Entom. Mitteil., vol. 11, p. 45. (Diakonoff, 1954).

The genus Cryptophasa is largely confined to Australia and New Guinea and contains the largest species. The larvae tunnel in branches and stems, covering the opening with a webbing of silk and excrement. They emerge at night to cut off leaves which they drag to the entrance for food. (Common, 1963).

This habit [dragging in leaves for food] is common in Cryptophasa (19 spp.), which contains the giants of the family, with maxillary palpi of 3-4 segments and male antennae usually bipectinate. (Common, 1970).

... the largest species of the subfamily ... are referred to Cryptophasa Lewin, with 55 described species. Some of the species are sexually dimorphic and the antennae of males are always bipectinate. The pupae are cylindrical,  usually with sclerotised flanges on the abdominal segments, and sometimes, as in C. rubescens, with grotesque sclerotised structures on the head. (Common, 1990).

An unjustified emendation of Cryptophasa Lewin, 1805.

Cryptophaga Meyrick, 1890, is not preoccupied by * Cryptophaga Degland & Gerbe, 1867, Ornithologie eur. (Edn 2) 1: 307, which is an incorrect subsequent spelling of Crithophaga Cabania, 1851, in Cabanis & Heine, Mus. orn. Heineanum 1: 127, - Aves. (Pitkin & Jenkins, 2004).

The genus Cryptophasa contains many large species that typically bore into the trunks of trees. They leave their tunnel to cut leaves from the tree, which they drag back and tie with silk to the entrance to the tunnel and then feed from the shelter of the tunnel for the next few days. (Edwards and Zborowski, 2007).


Immature stages:
Cryptophasa rubescens, larva tying a piece of Acacia phyllode to entrance of burrow.

Distribution: Australia: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia; Irian Jaya; Papua New Guinea. (Edwards, 2003).

Remarks: This genus as it stands is in need of revision, and in the course of such work criteria for stricter definition should emerge.