Genus Tryella Moulds, 2003 (Bullets)

Closely allied to the genus Aleeta, Tryella comprises fourteen recognised species distributed right across Australia, being less prominent in temperate areas. Most are found in the arid and semi-arid regions. One species also occurs in the south of New Guinea (Moulds, 2003). The species all have a faint to quite marked infuscation on the hind wing and all share the habit of sitting upside down on tree branches. They are all compact and many have markings on the anterior side of the pronotal collar, behind the eyes, giving them a bullet-like appearance, especially whilst in flight.


Index to Genus Tryella

Tryella burnsi Tryella willsi Grass Buzzing Bullet
Tryella graminea Black Buzzing Bullet Large Rusty Bullet
Tryella rubra Brown Buzzing Bullet  

Distribution of the genus Tryella within Australia


Black Buzzing Bullet Tryella willsi (Distant, 1882)

Male

Female

TNS: 537.

Size: Forewing length: 20-27mm.

Range and Season: From Mt. Isa and Cloncurry south through Barcaldine, Blackall and Charleville to Bourke in New South Wales and east to Emerald, Springsure, Theodore and south of Surat in Queensland. Adults are present from October to March.

Habits: Populations are clumped into local aggregations on either single trees or a group of trees. Adults are sedentary, but will take flight if disturbed. Woodlands in the brigalow belt and mulga bioregion are preferred and medium-sized trees are normally inhabited, especially Eremopila mitchellii (false sandalwood).

Song: A long, high-pitched hiss that can be quite piercing when numbers are high. Short distress calls are made when males wander into (and deafen) each other (this happens often).

Recording of calling song

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Brown Buzzing Bullet Tryella burnsi Moulds, 2003

Appearance: Similar to the Black Buzzing Bullet, but distinctly brown on the thorax and abdomen.

TNS: 539

Size: Forewing length: 20-27mm.

Range and Season: From Rockhampton through the coastal and inland tropics into Cape York and north to Iron Range. Specimens have been collected from October to March. Occurs sympatrically with T. willsi in the Charters Towers area.

Habits: Similar to T. willsi. Adults occur on wattles (Mimosaceae), smooth-barked eucalypts (Myrtaceae) and, occasionally, other trees and shrubs. It is often a common species throughout drier coastal and inland habitats.

Song: Similar to T. willsi, with a pronounced wavering component.

Recording of calling song

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Grass Buzzing Bullet Tryella graminea Moulds, 2003

Appearance: Similar to the Black Buzzing Bullet, but with a rounded thorax and short, stubby wings. Some purple-maroon coloration is also often evident on the thorax.

TNS: 536.

Size: Forewing length: 20-27mm.

Range and Season: Central and north-western Queensland extending in the central and southern Northern Territory and just into the north of South Australia. In Queensland this species occurs east to about Charleville. October to March.

Habits: Occurs in arid grasslands.

Song: Similar to T. willsi. Note different habitat.

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Dusky Bullet Tryella crassa Moulds, 2003

Appearance: Larger and bulkier the Black Buzzing Bullet, with a dusky grey-brown coloration.

TNS: 532.

Size: Forewing length: 20-27mm.

Range and Season: North-western Northern Territory, including the southern edge of the Top End, east through north-western Queensland to Charters Towers and near Home Hill (Moulds, 2003) and south as far as Blackall.

Habits: Occurs in small shrubs amongst grass in open areas.

Song: A continuous buzzing call comprising distinct pulse doublets.

Recording of calling song

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Species from elsewhere in Australia

Large Rusty Bullet Tryella rubra (Goding and Froggatt, 1904) - male

TNS: 531.

Found in the Kimberleys in northern Western Australia.

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