Notodontid Moths
Gum Notodontid Moth
Banksia Notodontid Moth
Wattle Notodontid Moth
Processionary Caterpillar 
Brown Ring Epicoma Moth
Yellow Spot Epicoma Moth
Common Epicoma Moth
Black Spot Moth
White Epicoma Moth
Sparshalli Moth
Unknown Notodontid


Bag-shelter Moths, Processionary Caterpillars - Subfamily Thaumetopoeinae

Family Notodontidae 

This page contains pictures and information about moths and caterpillars in subfamily Thaumetopoeinae that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Thaumetopoeinae Caterpillars
Some reference put this subfamily as Family THAUMETOPOEIDAE. Caterpillars in this subfamily have very dense hairs. They live together in shelter of silk, i.e. their common name Bag-shelter Moth caterpillar. They feed in group and sometime form processionary group to move to other locations, i.e., their another common name Processionary Caterpillars. The adult moths are similar to the subfamily NOTODONTINAE but the eggs and caterpillars are very different.
Most species of caterpillars in this subfamily can be seen feeding in group. Some species caterpillars may be seen in procession, each following the silken thread left by the one in front.
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Notodontin caterpillars feeding in group                 Caterpillar in Procession                                        A Notodontid male 
Pupation usually occurs in mud cell in soil or in a tough silk cocoon under bark.  
The adult moths in this family are from medium to large size, with stout body. The head, thorax and legs are often covered with long hair. The fore wing is usually elongated-triangular form. The hind wing is round and much shorter than the fore wing. They rest their fore wings folded roof-wise above the abdomen, with fore wings cover entirely the hind wings. They are active at night.

Bag-shelter Moth,  Processionary Caterpillar
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Ochrogaster lunifer, Moth wingspan 40mm, caterpillar grows up to 70mm 
They are common in Brisbane bushes. Caterpillars in large number can be found resting/hiding on base of medium to large size wattle tree trunks. Caterpillars and moths are known will cause irritation for human and other animals. Female moths lay eggs mass covered by hairs and scales. The airborne caterpillar hairs and moth scales will cause rashes and also respiratory problems such as asthma. We recorded the annually cycle of this species, details please found on this page.
Brown Ring Epicoma Moth
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Epicoma tristis, wingspan 30mm
The moth's forewings are dark brown in colour, with two rows of creamy spots along the wing edges. In the middle of its forewings there is a dark ring with a yellow dot. Their Caterpillars are dark grey with short hair, may be seen in group or in procession. Their host plants include gum tree. Please check this page for more information.
Yellow Spot Epicoma Moth
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Epicoma protrahens, wingspan 30mm
The moths are dark brown in colour with a white-yellow dot at the centre of each fore wing. The caterpillars can be found on Bottlebrush feeding in group. They are hairy with two black dots on first two abdominal segments. More information and pictures please check this page.
Common Epicoma Moth
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Epicoma melanosticta, male, wingspan 30mm     female
This is the male Common Epicoma Moth. It has the white forewings each has a dark brown patch with yellow spot centre on a brown diagonal line. Its head and legs are hairy. Female is dark brown instead of white. Check this page for more information. 
Black Spot Moth
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Epicoma melanospila, male, wingspan 30mm
We found this moth outside our house. This moth came to our house attracted by the window lights. Please check this page for more infomation. 
White Notodontid Moth
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Trichiocercus sp., female, wingspan 30mm
This moth is creamy white in colour with a yellow abdomen. Head and legs are covered with white hairs. Pictures were taken on Sep and Dec 2005. Please visit this page for more pictures and information.
Sparshalli Moth
Trichiocercus sparshalli, length 40mm
The caterpillar was found feeding on gum tree leaf during early summer. Few days later, it turned into a cacoon. Two to three weeks later, a Tachinid Fly came out instead of a moth from the cacoon. The Tachinid Fly came out directly, not the fly larvae as in most other case. Only one fly came out and it was dark grey in colour 10mm in body length, look exactly as the Tachinid Flies that parasite on Crow and Wanderer butterflies, although a bit larger in size. Check this page for more information.

1. NOTODONTIDAE of Australia - Don Herbison-Evans & Stella Crossley, 2011. 
2. Moths of Australia - I. F. B. Common, Melbourne University Press, 1990, p417.
3. Moths of Australia - Bernard D'Abrera, Lansdowne Press, Melbourne, 1974, p70.
4. A Guide to Australian Moths - Paul Zborowski, Ted Edwards, CSIRO PUBLISHING, 2007, p173. 

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Last updated: October 06, 2011.