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Type: Article
Published: 2020-03-06
Page range: 26-39
Abstract views: 468
PDF downloaded: 1

New rearing method, life cycle, tunneling behavior and ecological notes on the splendid ghost moth Aenetus djernaesae Simonsen, 2018 from Western Australia (Lepidoptera: Hepialidae)

Hepialidae Aenetus life cycle artificial diet Myoporum Dodonea larval foodplant


This study successfully documents, for the first time, the entire life cycle of Aenetus djernaesae Simonsen, 2018 and confirms the efficacy of using supplemental sources of fungi to feed the early instar larvae. Fresh cut pieces of the commercial mushroom Agaricus bisporus (J.E. Lange) and sections of Eucalyptus L’Her. bark were placed around the base of potted host plants –Myoporum insulare R.Br. (Scrophulariaceae) and the potential host plant Dodonea hackettiana W.Fitz. (Sapindaceae). First instar larvae were added to this matrix where they fed on the mushroom and bark. The life cycle comprised egg development of 20 days, fungal feeding of ~36 days, and host plant development (including pupal) of ~300 days. Adult emergence of reared and field collected samples occurred within a 22 day period. Larvae transferring from fungi to host plants transitioned during the night by constructing a web of silk and plant tissues within two hours and proceeding to excavate a tunnel from within. The mature larval tunnel is relatively short, up to 220 mm in length and usually extending below the entrance around which the larvae grazes on callus tissue forming after bark removal. Most adults emerged within an hour of dusk with the pupa protruding from the top of the vestibule. The rearing method described here demonstrates the feasibility of laboratory based studies of larval development in Aenetus Herrrich-Schäffer and other callus-feeding stem boring Hepialidae.


Key words: Hepialidae, Aenetus, life cycle, artificial diet, Myoporum, Dodonea, larval foodplant


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