- This page contains pictures and information about Case Moths and Bag Moths that we found
in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
- Case Moth larva's case
- Members in this family are known as Case Moths, Bagworms or Bag Moths.
The caterpillars are from small to large size. Most
species the caterpillars live in a mobile case. The case is made of silk and
host plant materials or a few species mixed with grains of sand. Each species make case in different shapes. Most of them feed
on a variety of plants. When rest they stick the top opening on stem and hang
their bag vertically.
- The case has two openings, one at the top and other at the bottom. The
caterpillar comes out from the top to feed and ejects the waste form the bottom
end. The bottom opening, which is smaller than the top opening, is also the
exit hatch for the emerging adult. We can sometimes see the empty pupal case
left at the bottom opening of the case. We also saw once the caterpillar came
out from the bottom end when its way was stuck at the top end.
Large Caterpillar with large
Adult emerged with empty case left
- Most Case Moth caterpillars are leaf miners when they are very small.
- The Case Moth caterpillars may take several years before they come to the pupate stage.
We need some patient to rear the case moths. They pupate within the
case. For most species in this family, female will not develop wings
and will never come out of the bag. It just waits for a winged male inside her
- After mating, females lay eggs inside the bag. Small caterpillars hatched
and lower themselves onto ground by a strong silken thread. Then those small caterpillars
made the small portable case attached with small pieces of leaves or
- The adult moths are small to medium size, with relatively small eyes and
small antenna. The head is usually surrounded with long hairs. The mouthparts
are reduced and Case Moth adults do not feed.
- Adult Case Moths are not commonly seen. We do not have any their photo yet. Males
are always fully-winged but females may be fully-winged or with reduced
- Adult females in this subfamily Taleporiinae are either fully-winged or
- Adult females of all species in this subfamily Psychinae are flightless and
with wings reduced. They remain in the case wait for male. They mate and lay
eggs inside the case, usually within the pupal cuticle.
Wattle Case Moth Caterpillar attacked by Ichneumon Wasp
- Case 50mm in length
- Living inside the case does not guarantee safety. In early spring
found this case moth caterpillar (Wattle Case Moth)
attacked by a Ichneumon
Wasp on a Acacia tree. Although the caterpillar was inside its case bag,
which was quite useless as the prevention of wasp attack. We saw the caterpillar headed out a few times try to get rid of
the wasp but no success. The wasp kept on punching her long ovipositor into
the case bag for over halve an hour. This case moth species makes case out of silk and
plants materials mixed with grains of sand.
- 1. Insects of Australia and New Zealand - R. J. Tillyard, Angus
& Robertson, Ltd, Sydney, 1926, p435.
- 2. Moths of Australia
- I. F. B. Common, Melbourne University Press, 1990,
- 3. Insects
of Australia - CSIRO, Division of Entomology, Melbourne University
Press, 2nd Edition 1991, p848.
- 4. PSYCHIDAE
of Australia - Caterpillars
of Australian Moths - Don Herbison-Evans & Stella Crossley, 2007.
- 5. Case moths, bag moths or bagworms - Chris Burwell, Queensland Museum, 2006.
- 6. REVISION OF THE AUSTRALIAN PSYCHIDAE -
MEYRICK. E and LOWER O B. (1907).
- 7. Northern
Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009.
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