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Lymantriidae

Overview

The family (Turner 1921) is best developed in the tropics, and has few endemic genera. Most species can be distinguished by the absence of the proboscis, by the position of M 2 and of Sc in the hind wing, and by the prespiracular counter-tympanal hood. The adults rest with the wings flattened against the substrate forming a triangle and the fore legs extended forward. In Iropoca (1 sp.), Orgyia (2 spp.) and Teia (2 spp.) there is an areole in the fore wing and females have abbreviated, crumpled wings; Orgyia and Teia lack medial spurs on the hind tibiae. I . rotundata feeds on Eucalyptus , and the cocoons are spun beneath loose bark.

Description

Small to large; ocelli absent; antennae bipectinate to tip in male and usually in female, usually with 1-3 long terminal spinules on each antennal branch; proboscis usually absent; maxillary palps 1-segmented or absent; epiphysis present in male, reduced or absent in female, tibial spurs short, 0-2-4, rarely 0-2-2; females sometimes brachypterous, flightless; fore wing often with areole, R 3 and R 4 stalked from discal cell or areole, 1A+2A simple; hind wing with Sc diverging from Rs at base but approximated to, and usually connected with, Rs by R 1 towards middle of discal cell, rarely fusing with Rs for short distance, Rs and M 1 usually stalked, M 2 arising nearer to M 3 than to M 1 ; thorax and abdomen densely hairy; abdomen with counter-tympanal hood prespiracular, abdominal segment 4 usually with pair of pockets in female with dense anal tuft. Egg often hemispherical, rounded or subcylindrical, laid in cluster, usually covered with hair-scales from anal tuft. Larva with dense tufted secondary setae, often with 4 long dense dorsal tufts or with hair pencils, 2 coloured dorsal glands on abdominal segment 6 and usually also on 7; external feeders, often arboreal. Pupa stout, hairy, in silken cocoon incorporating larval hairs.

Distribution

T . anartoides from the south-east and T . athlophora from the south-west are polyphagous pests of garden plants. The principal, native food plant of the former is Acacia . Most other genera lack an areole. The larvae of Leptocneria (2 spp.) are urticating; L . reducta defoliates white cedar ( Melia ) in Qld and N.S.W. Euproctis edwardsii also causes urticaria, and feeds on mistletoes, sheltering in crevices and beneath loose bark. To Euproctis (21 spp.), which is widely distributed abroad, belongs smaller species, such as the orange E . lucifuga from Qld. It also includes small white or yellow species, such as E . paradoxa from eastern Australia. The endemic Icta (2 spp.) has narrow, elongate fore wings and short hind wings in the male, and short, functionless wings in the female. The larvae of I . fulviceps from N.S.W. feed on Eucalyptus foliage and shelters beneath loose bark. Adults of Dura (2 spp.) and Lymantria are among the largest Australian lymantriids. [Ferguson 1978.]

Lymantriidae images on Australian Moths Online

  • Larva of a Lymantriidae sp

  • Dura nivens

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