Wasp Moths, Handmaidens
The Caterpillars of the CTENUCHINAE are mostly covered uniformly in dark hairs. The hairs can cause Urticaria in sensitive people. The Caterpillars typically feed and move about during the daytime.
They pupate in a cocoon made of silk with their hairs matted together.
The adults are small to medium in size, with hindwings that are half the span of the forewings. The wings are black with translucent orange spots. The adult moths of many species in this subfamily fly during daylight hours. The female moths have a fatter abdomen, but a smaller wingspan than the males. In this subfamily: typically the antennae of the female moths are serrated, and the antennae of the males have pectinations.
Many species in this subfamily have tranverse bands alternating in orange and black on the abdomen. These moths appear to mimic many stinging wasp species, hence their name 'Wasp Moths', although the moths themselves cannot sting. However the coloration may denote a hazard as the moths are poisonous if eaten. Either way: the orange and black bands on the abdomen may give protetion from predators such as birds.
The 53 named Australian members of this subfamily are:
Amata aperta : Pale Spotted Tiger Moth
(updated 12 June 2014, 25 August 2017, 18 April 2019, 30 January 2021)