Monday, 23 February 2015

Cup Moths - Limacodidae

Cup Moths (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae) are found all over Australia. The adult moths are quite nondescript but their larvae are brightly coloured, stout bodied and slug-like and frequently have stinging hairs and spines. When disturbed they raise their stinging spines. If touched these spines can cause severe local irritation and swelling.

The common name Cup Moth is thought to come from the shape of the pupal cocoons constructed by the caterpillars, which are cup-like in appearance after the moth has emerged. The faecal pellets of the caterpillars are also 'cup' shaped.

Depending on the species, they may attack camellia, hop bush, macadamia, gum trees, guava and waratah.  Small larvae feed together and skeletonise leaves; larger larvae chew chunks from leaf edges.

Keep an eye on target plants for larvae.

Natural enemies:
Parasitic wasps, flies, biting midges and birds.

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