Sometimes this is listed as a family AGARISTIDAE, but here, following Nielsen et al., we list it as a sub-family of NOCTUIDAE.
The Caterpillars of members of AGARISTINAE are distinguished by their bright colours, and their habit of feeding exposed in daytime. Many Caterpillars have a brightly coloured dorsal hump. The distinctive markings suggest that they are protected by warning ( aposematic ) coloration. The pupa is usually formed in the soil without a cocoon. The adults are called "Day Moths" because they fly in daylight hours. In this way they differ from most other moths. The adult moths themselves are distinctively marked in black and white, and may too be protected by aposematic coloration.
The 42 named Australian species in AGARISTINAE are:
Agarista agricola : Joseph's Coat Moth
Apina callisto : Pasture Day Moth
Comocrus behri : Mistletoe Moth
Hecatesia fenestrata : Whistling Moth
: Vine Moth
Frequently Asked Questions about Caterpillars
(updated 25 November 2012)