Black and White Tiger Moth
(also known as : Ardices glatignyi)
ARCTIINAE , ARCTIIDAE , NOCTUOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of Genevieve Schebeck)
Initially this Caterpillar emerges from a cluster of white eggs, which usually have been laid on a leaf of a foodplant.
The caterpillar is initially white with a black head. Later instars have a brown head capsule, and are very hairy, with hairs varying in colour from pale to dark brown, covering the thorax and the abdomen. The hairs are often paler on the first few abdominal segments. There are rows of pale yellow spots on the back and sides. The hairs cause a slight rash in some people.
It feeds nocturnally on a variety of herbaceous plants from a variety of families, including:
and in South Australia, it is a pest on plantations of:
Specimens have been observed feeding in daytime, but our experience is that these are parasitised. The Caterpillar grows to a length of 5 cms.
It pupates in a loose cocoon incorporating larval hairs and local detritus, under a log or bark or in a crevice. The pupa inside is a shiny very dark brown, with a length of about 2 cms.
The adult moths are very attractive, with a wingspan up to 6 cm, although the female is slightly larger than the male. The wing pattern is variable, but is commonly white with black markings.
The abdomen is ringed in black and scarlet. Under the white hairs, the thorax is black, unlike that of the similar species Spilosoma canescens, which has a white thorax.
The species may be found over the whole of the southern half of Australia, including
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 19.10, p. 435.
Pat and Mike Coupar,
New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, pl. 19.10, p. 34.
Tiger Moths of the County of Cumberland, New South Wales,
Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales,
April 1969, pp. 59-61, pl. VIII-IX.
Elie Jean Francois Le Guillou,
Description de huit especes de Lepidopteres,
Revue Zoologique par la Societe Cuvierienne,
Paris, 1841, p. 257, No. 3.
Moths of Victoria - Part 2, 2nd edition,
Tiger Moths and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (A),
Entomological Society of Victoria, 2015, pp. 20-21, 28-29.
Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
A Guide to Australian Moths,
CSIRO Publishing, 2007, pp. 5, 183.
(updated 2 May 2013, 21 May 2017)