19 May 2009

Teia athlophora - Tussock Moth

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Tussock Moth - Teia athlophora

A very handsome moth with spectacular antennae that are used by the male to track down the wingless female. The larvae like other moths in the family Lymantriidae are very hairy, often with the hairs grouped together into rounded tufts (hence the common name of Tussock Moths), the larvae hairs can cause serious irritation to human skin, but the characteristic hairy adults do not generate the same reaction. The larvae mainly feed on Acacia (Wattles) and certain Pea-flower plants.

These moths (around 2 cm or 3/4" in length) are short lived as they cannot feed and only pupate to quickly mate and continue the species. As such, they are normally only seen on calm nights after light rain in Autumn.

Update January 2011
Four photos added of wingless Teia athlophora female, her cocoon, eggs and larvae. The eggs were laid on the 1/01/11 and hatched 12 days later.