Distribution Australia (eastern, southeastern, western) and New Guinea (Tindale, 1935; Grehan, 2011).
Systematics The monophyly of this large genus has yet to be demonstrated. Some species appear to be more closely related to Hepialiscus and other Old World 'oxycanine' genera by the shared presence of a subanal sclerite in the male genitalia (Grehan, 2011).
Habitat Grassland. Mixed woodland/grassland? Forest (New Guinea).
Biology Larvae bore tunnels in the ground and feed on surface vegetation (grasses, herbs) and perhaps also herbaceous roots (Grehan, 2011). Oxycanus oreades has sub-brachypterus females and larvaeand pupae livein undeground tunnels. Adults emerge mostly on a single night, at a closely similar date each year and timed to coincide with the passage of a westerly or south-westerly weather front producing rain and a rapid drop in temperature. Males of O. oreades fly vigorously at night and few may be found in the day. Females are unable to fly and may be found plentifully on the day following emergence clinging to vegetation among which they move sluggishly while scattering very high numbers of small spherical white eggs. Associated with dense stands of the snow grass, Poa costiniana Vickery, and the larvae probably feed on the underground or basal parts of the live plants, or possibly decaying leaves (Edwards & Green, 2011).
References Edwards, E.D & Green, K. 2011.Two new species of Oxycanus Walker (Lepidoptera: Hepialidae) from Kosciuszko National Park, one with a sub-brachypterous female. Australian Journal of Entomology 50, 78–85. Grehan, J.R.2011.Notes on the biogeography of eastern Asian ghost moths (Lepidoptera: Hepialidae). Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences 40, 59-74. Hardy, R.J. 1974 The biology and pest status of Oxycanus fuscomaculatus. Journal of the Australian Entomological Society 13, 317-328. Kallies, A., Marriot, B. & Hewish, M. 2015. Ghost Moths. Hepialidae and allies. Moths of Victoria Pt 6, 1-36. Entomological Society of Victoria, Brunswick, Victoria. McQuillan, P.J., Ireson, J., Hill, L. & Young, C. 2007. Tasmanian pasture and forage pests. Identification, biology and control. Department of Agriculture, Tasmania. (Section on Oxycanus) Turner, A.J. 1929. New Australian Lepidoptera. Transactions of the RoyalSociety of South Australia 53, 927-308. Viette, P. 1956. Contribution à l'étude des Hepialidae (Lepidoptera) (32ème note) Hepialidae de Nouvelle-Guinée. Nova Guinea, new series, 7, 41-58
Oxycanus subochracea (Joicey and Talbot, 1917) New Guinea: Papua Indonesia, Carstensz Peak (Puncak Jaya), Gita Lake (Anggi Lakes), Wandammen Peninsula: Papua New Guinea (Papua Insects Foundation) Flight: No details