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Lichen case Moth (♀)

Cebysa leucotelus


This tiny moth (about 8 mm) with shimmering bluish black wings with bright yellow markings along the costa and the submarginal areas. The wings looked only partially extended giving the body a humped appearance. The head, thorax and abdomen were black. Antennae appeared scaly and had white tips. Legs were long and scaly with bands of white on the fore legs.


Suburban garden.


This puzzling moth was extremely active walking with jerky/darting movements and antennae moving up and down, very much like a predatory wasp. These females are said to be walkers and do not fly, although I witnessed a feeble attempt at flight. They are also said to have long ovipositors but I did not see any (possibly retractable). Males can fly and have fully extended wings. The larvae fo these moths live in bags made of lichens and debris. They feed on lichen off rocks, walls and bricks and grow up to 20 mm in length. One Synonym: Pitane dilecta Family: Psychidae
A larva of this moth in it's "bag" can be seen in this spotting (spotted in the same area)
and here is a spotting of a handsome male of the species spotted by Stephen Solomons

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Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 7 years ago

Thanks Stephen. I did not know it was a moth either- just saw this bright coloured insect running about and had to take a photograph. Luckily a few of the shots turned out OK. Very active.

StephenSolomons 7 years ago

Good set of images. I wouldn't have recognized it as a moth!

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 8 years ago

I wish I'd seen the ovipositor but must be content with seeing her at all !! Your female is a little grander with yellow spots on the wings-very nice !

lori.tas 8 years ago

I spotted one of these females, and she sure did the pushing out her ovipositor thing at me. It was clear meant as a threat, and frankly, because I wasn't sure what I'd found, I left her alone because of it.

Leuba Ridgway
Leuba Ridgway 8 years ago

Thanks all ! A very confusing specimen - darting around with antennae moving up and down. I was sure it was an odd-shaped wasp at first.
martin, I spotted the larva in bag earlier- fast moving as well.

Neat looking moth! Nice spotting, Leuba!

StephenSolomons 8 years ago


MartinL 8 years ago

How curious. I thought females stayed inside and had no wings. It's not a bag that I recall even seeing. Well done, Leuba.

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 8 years ago

What a strange little moth. Strong colours for a psychidae.

Leuba Ridgway
Spotted by
Leuba Ridgway

Victoria, Australia

Spotted on Mar 26, 2014
Submitted on Mar 26, 2014

Related Spottings

Lichen Case Moth (male) Cebysa leucotelus Little log cabin Bag Moth Lichen Case Moth

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White-fringed Weevil Leaf cocoon with holes Grass Spittlebug Leaf Roller Moth


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