Bag Shelter Moth
Larva: profile & Feet
|Class:||Animals (Animalia) - Jointed Legs (Arthropoda) - Insects (Insecta)|
|Order:||Butterflies & Moths (Lepidoptera)|
|Family:||Oakworm (:Noctuoidea Notodontidae)|
|Species:||Bag Shelter Moth (Ochrogaster lunifer)|
|This Photo:||Larva: Head & dorsal|
|Other name:||Processionary Caterpillar|
General Species Information:
Found on Ellura (in the Murray Mallee, SA) and elsewhere
Thank you Ethan Beaver for noting special characteristics of this species for us
See individual photo's for more information.
Head & body ~18mm, wingspan ~45mm (ours all seem to be similar size). Males & females have bipectinate antennae, with males having much longer (obvious to the naked eye) pectinations.
Caterpillars in our area seem very green to most other images. While male adult wing patterns vary considerably, they generally seem to be a subset of the most heavily marked specimens. At most a black transverse wavy line, with many white longitudinal lines; with at the least a tiny white spot. Females seem to only have a white spot, not white stripes. All our specimens have the same dull brown background, where as others vary between nearly black to ochre coloured backgrounds (Ethan's collection indicates strong geographic variation of the background colour, as well as size). It is considered these are a species complex. He even has a specimen with no orange on the abdomen!
Gender cannot be reliably determined from their posterial white scales, as these wear off and possibly vary in colour (in males). Ethan told us that these white scales are used to protect the eggs. He said "they form such a dense coating that ants and other small creatures cannot dislodge them to reach the eggs". The antennae, which are often well hidden, are the only reliable form of separation (but a striped specimen is most likely a male and a specimen with bulbous white "tail" will be a female).
Regularly seen inhabitants of Ellura with larvae sightings between Jan & June. 5 female & 14 male adults (9 adults in one night) in October.