Tussock Moths
White Tussock Moth I
Painted Pine Moth
Brown Tussock Moth
White Tussock Moth II
Yellow Tussock Moth
Unknown Tussock Caterpillars
Unknown Caterpillar 1


Tussock Moths and Caterpillars - Biology

Family Lymantriidae

This page contains pictures and information about Tussock Caterpillars and Moths that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
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Wingless female                                                    Winged male                                                        pupa in cocoon
Tussock Moths in this family are are from small to medium in size with furry hairy body. They are short lived, mouth parts are poorly developed and do not feed at all. They held their board wings root-like over their abdomen when rest. Some species adults rest with wings flattened forming a triangle and the fore legs extended forward. The male moth antenna broadly pectinate and curved. Females have very large abdomen when emerge from pupa. The abdomen is full of eggs and ready to lay. In some species the females are wingless. They are usually active at night. 
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Coloured Gland on 6 and 7th segment 
The Tussock Caterpillars in family LYMANTRIIDAE are usually hairy, often with four distinct tussocks of hairs on their back make them look like a toothbrush. Those hairs can cause irritation if contact. Tussock Caterpillars are usually colourful. They may found feeding on leaves during the day. The caterpillars pupate in a woven cocoon under bark or foliage. The pupa usually covered with larval hairs for protection. These hairs can cause problems if touched or released to blow about. 
On the back of the 6 and 7th segments there is the coloured gland. The glands exude liquid that is believed will deter ant from attacking the caterpillar.
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Eggs, 1.5mm diameter                                          Caterpillars just hatched, length 4mm                     
Female lay their eggs mixed with their scale. Some female-wingless species lay eggs on their cocoon.
We have detail records about the life cycle of this Tussock Moth - Painted Pine Moth

1. LYMANTRIIDAE of Australia - Don Herbison-Evans & Stella Crossley, 2008. 
2. Moths of Australia - I. F. B. Common, Melbourne University Press, 1990, p425.
3. Moths of Australia - Bernard D'Abrera, Lansdowne Press, Melbourne, 1974, p71.
4. A Guide to Australian Moths - Paul Zborowski, Ted Edwards, CSIRO PUBLISHING, 2007, p178. 
5. Northern Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009.
6. Moths of Victoria: part two, Tiger moths and allies Noctuoidea (A) - Peter Marriott, Entomological Society of Victoria, 2009.   

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Last updated: October 18, 2011.