What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Limacodidae

Overview

Doratifera (8 spp.), in which M is simple and hind tibiae without median spurs, is widely distributed in Australia; the brightly coloured larvae feed exposed on foliage of Eucalyptus and other Myrtaceae and have paired dorsal protuberances which are crowned with eversible tufts of stinging hairs; the larvae of D . oxleyi often seriously defoliate Eucalyptus , and the larvae of D . vulnerans which also feed on Eucalyptus , are known to defoliate apricot trees. Doratifera larvae pupate in a pyriform cocoon attached to twigs or bark.

Description

Small to medium size; head with rather smooth vestiture of piliform or lamellar scales; ocelli and chaetosemata absent; antenna bipectinate in male, at least in basal half, dentate or filiform in female; proboscis and maxillary palps minute or absent; labial palps short, 2- or 3-segmented; epiphysis absent; spurs 0-2-2 or 0-2-4, rarely absent; femora and tibiae often woolly; fore wing broad triangular, apex rounded, chorda absent, M present in cell, R 3 , R 4 and R 5 stalked, CuP present; hind wing with 3 frenular bristles in female, M present in cell, Sc + R 1 fused with Rs near base or Sc is connected to Rs by R 1 , CuP present; female abdomen with lateral projections from segment 8 (Holloway 1986). Egg scale-like, in overlapping batches or singly. Larva heteromorphic; 1st instar larva broad and flattened, with 4 spines on each segment; later instar larvae slug-like, with head retracted, antennae long, thoracic legs reduced, prolegs absent, sometimes with ventral suckers on abdominal segments 1-7, setae often modified, with stinging hairs or reduced; feed exposed. Pupa in oval or pyriform cocoon , with circular, lid-like opening at one end.

Distribution

The family (called cup moths) is widely distributed with most species in the Tropics. The Australian fauna (Turner 1926), with about 26 genera, is relatively rich. Comana (12 spp.) occurs mainly in northern Australia. Mecytha fasciata is a handsome species from northern and eastern Australia with a relatively smooth larva which lacks prominent tubercles and stinging hairs; its food plants all belong to the Proteaceae. Larvae of Scopelodes , with two species in northern Qld, have stinging hairs.

Limacodidae images on Australian Moths Online

  • Larva of Calcarifera ordinata

  • cup moth

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