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

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The larvae feed on trees and shrubs of the families Proteaceae and Myrtaceae. Some are leaf-miners throughout life and, when mature, cut a flat case from the mine for pupation. Others mine at first and then cut out increasingly large cases which they use as shelter when feeding within a new mine or when browsing on the leaf surface. Pupation takes place in the case, on the ground or attached to the food plant. Perthida , with more than 30 species, is the largest Australian genus and includes pest species on jarrah Eucalyptus marginata and other eucalypts (Common 1969). Two other genera feed on Eucalyptus , including one which cuts irregular, flimsy cases from successively larger, irregular mines on leaves of seedlings. A large genus has larvae leaf-mining various Banksia species; the closest relative of this genus and another Australian Proteaceae-feeding genus is a South African genus leaf-mining in Protea .


Small; head with raised hair-scales; antennae to about mid length of fore wing; proboscis short, unscaled; maxillary palps 5-segmented; labial palps with lateral bristles on second segment; fore tibia without epiphysis in several genera; Australian species sombre coloured, sometimes with white marks, without metallic lustre. Ovipositor flattened, triangular, piercing. Larva with 6 stemmata, thoracic legs and prolegs present or absent, crochets when present in transverse row. Pupa with appendages not glued to body, maxilary palps present.


The family reaches its greatest diversity in Australia with 5 genera and more than 100 species.