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Bag moth or Case moth

Family Psychidae,

Description:

5 Feb:This is largest case or bag moth "cocoon" I have seen. The length was 15 cms. Caterpillar black with orange patches, pale-colored head. The 'bag' was attached by a small thread to hold it in place. The caterpillar emerged to feed on the surrounding leaves, and retreated when startled. 6 Feb: The caterpillar/bag had moved about 40cms away, to fresh feeding grounds.

Habitat:

Feeding on Breynia sp. 'Iron Range', in gardens of James Cook University Cairns Campus.

Notes:

The additives to the casing looked like fur (looked quite soft) and 2cm spines but on closer inspection it seemed to be dried grass tips (felt coarse) and the 'spines' were sharpened twigs to protect it from predators. (see pic 5) The opening at the top was very silky and soft (pic 4)

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6 Comments

Andrea Lim
Andrea Lim 5 years ago

Thank you Leanne. I have been keeping an eye on it. It has begun to pupate so I hope I don't miss the emergence when it happens and can get some pics to add.

LeanneGardner
LeanneGardner 5 years ago

Wow! What a great find Andrea! It's absolutely beautiful :)

Andrea Lim
Andrea Lim 5 years ago

Hi Mark, have added some notes in answer to your question. In Pic 3 the caterpillar retracted into the casing. Cheers Andrea

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 5 years ago

Fantastic casemoth Andrea. I think this might explain something we saw a year ago. Could you tell what the case additive material was? Is pic 3 empty or just well down in the case? ...sorry too many questions.

Andrea Lim
Andrea Lim 5 years ago

Thanks Dan. I am going to keep an eye out for it and see what emerges. Apparently little research has been done on this group. I'll try and get some photos to add to the spotting.

dandoucette
dandoucette 5 years ago

Wow! That is pretty amazing!

Andrea Lim
Spotted by
Andrea Lim

Cairns, Queensland, Australia

Lat: -16.82, Long: 145.69

Spotted on Feb 5, 2014
Submitted on Feb 6, 2014

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