Currently viewing the category: "Tussock Moths"

Cocoon with raised circular bumps
March 28, 2010
Hello Bugman, from across the pond. I spotted this cocoon, attached to a branch of a 2 year old Hebe, and can’t find out what it is. It’s about the size of my thumb, but fatter – completely secured along it’s length to the branch, and looking very solid. The small circles on the outside are almost like little hatched eggs – these have confused me, as whatever is inside would have had to crawl in after making them, rather than spinning a cocoon around itself? It is as if it needed extra armour. Inside is something which is filling the whole cavity, and looking a bit furry 🙂
Surrey, South East England

Rusty Tussock Moth Cocoon and Eggs

Hi Luigi,
This is a most interesting situation.  Before we saw your location was England, we were certain that this must be a Cecropia Moth Cocoon.  It is actually a Small Emperor Moth Cocoon, Saturnia pavonia, which can be viewed on the Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa website.   Eggs are typically laid in neat rings around the twigs of the food plant, and it seems like the moth that emerged from this cocoon was a female and she laid her eggs on her own cocoon.  We are going to contact Bill Oehlke with this unusual situation and he may request permission to post the photos on his own website.

Rusty Tussock Moth Cocoon and Eggs

Correction:  Rusty Tussock Moth Eggs and Cocoon
March 28, 2010
These are not the eggs of a saturniid but rather the rusty tussock moth (Lymantriidae: Orgyia antiqua), which is native to Europe but is now found throughout North America and elsewhere.  It is typical of this species and a number of other tussock moths for the eggs to be deposited right on the female’s cocoon, because the females are flightless.
There is a photo similar to these in my new book, “Tracks & Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates,” which I think y’all might enjoy.  There is some information about it here:

Ed. Note:
We found a matching photo on Wikipedia.

Thank you so much for your reply – that’s really interesting.  I’ve just had another look at it, and there is definitely something still inside the cocoon, so the moth has not yet emerged (I see that the UK flight time starts in mid-April).  I haven’t noticed any larvae of the kind, and no larvae damage to the plant (a Hebe). I wonder if something else entirely has laid its eggs on this cocoon?

Comb Feeler Moth
Sat, Dec 6, 2008 at 7:04 AM
Hi bugman! Greetings from Malaysia!
I stumbled upon this little guy quite late in the night.
It is small, measuring around 4cm with an awesome pose.
Not the least camera shy, I clicked away at it, even with flash and everything it stayed put for sometime before I scooped it up into a box and let it out!
I don’t know what species this is and would appreciate your help in identifying it.
Thanks in advance
Kuan Yew
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Unknown Moth from Malaysia

Unknown Moth from Malaysia

Hi Kuan,
We are not even sure what family your unusual moth belongs to taxonomically. Perhaps it is one of the Owlet Moths in the family Noctuidae or perhaps it is one of the Lappet Moths and Tent Caterpillars in the family Lasiocampidae . We hope ono of our readers will be able to provide a more thorough answer.

I think Artemesia is right, it is a Tussock moth (Lymantriidae), probably Dasychira mendosa. For comparison, check the image, second row from the bottom, at:
Regards. Karl

Taiwan Caterpillar ID
Hi WTB people,
I found the following caterpillar methodically devouring my hibiscus plant (on my 14th floor apartment deck in Taichung, Taiwan). I am wondering if you can identify it for me?
Thanks so much for the time
Brent Wilken

Hi Brent,
This is some species of Tussock Moth, but we can’t tell you the exact species.

Update: (03/06/2008) Tussock Moth Caterpillar from Taiwan
Hi, the Tussock Moth Caterpillar from Taiwan looks very similar to the species Dasychira mendosa Hubner. Some nice photos (both adult moth and caterpillar) can be found here: The mandarin description says the caterpillar of D. mendosa feeds on Water Lily, Ixora, and Acacia confusa (a perennial tree native to Asia). Other webpages also mention rose, citrus, camellia, soy, and sweetgum as possible food plants –a really wide range of variety! best,
PS.The website above is a pretty good online bug guide for identifying all sorts of critters in Taiwan; the contents are all in mandarin, but Latin names are provided; index page at

Dear Bugman,
Happy New Year. Here is a caterpillar I found in a Deer Park near where I live in Manchester, UK. I found it in October 07 and can’t find it in any of the books. Can you help me Identify it? Thank you ,
Sarah Pereira

Hi Sarah,
We quickly located the Pale Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Calliteara pudibunda, on the UK Moths website. It should not be confused with the American Moth with the same common name, Halysidota tessellaris. Much to the chargrin of beer lovers, the UK Pale Tussock Moth sometimes feeds on hops.

Found this on a mimosa tree in my yard. Can’t figure out what it is. Thanks!

Hi Leah,
This is a Tussock Moth Caterpillar in the genus Dasychira, possibly Dasychira basiflava, the Yellow-Based Tussock Moth as evidenced by images on BugGuide.

Caterpillar Photos
I am an avid insect, bug and caterpillar photographer and I really enjoy your sight. I have a 13 month old son who also loves to help me with my pictures. He is fascinated with bugs and is really the reason I began photographing them. Well, I live in San Antonio Texas and have seen most everything but this caterpillar is a new one and I really hope that you can identify it. Unfortunately in our bug exploration, my son was stung by this critter leaving a nasty mark. It was swollena dn nasty for a few days but started getting better until this morning and it’s getting angry red again. I’m afraid it’s some spines trying to work their way out. The doctor said he was fine but I’d like to do some research myself. Any info you may have regarding this fuzzy little guy would be greatly appreciated. As you can see, this one is right next to the door handle of my front door so they are definitely a presence in and around our home so they have me a little worried. I never kill them but would love to know and warnings to assist in my relocation efforts. Thank you in advance for any info you may have. Respectfully,
DanCee Bowers
San Antonio, Texas

Hi DanCee,
We believe this is a Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Halysidota harrisii. It matches images found on BugGuide, but there is no mention of it being a stinging caterpillar. We do not have time right now to research its reputation as a stinging caterpillar, but perhaps knowing its name will lead you to the information you desire.

Update: (11/03/2007) Regarding Sycamore Tussock Moth Caterpillar — stinging?
Hi Daniel and Lisa,
In the post you have on the Sycamore Tussock Moth caterpillar from 10/30, Ms. Bowers asks about the caterpillar stinging because it caused some irritation to her son. I’ve found this fairly informative page from Auburn University Entomology Department that gives some very good general information on how caterpillars sting and then lists both stinging and non-stinging caterpillars that can be found in Alabama. Obviously many of the ones cited can also be found elsewhere. Interestingly, the Sycamore Tussock is listed as one of the non-stinging ones. Here’s the webpage: /bulletins/caterpillar/caterpillar.htm#the%20sycamore Best regards,
Stefanie Graves
Paducah, KY