Black and White Tiger Moth
(also known as : Ardices glatignyi)
ARCTIINI, ARCTIINAE, EREBIDAE, NOCTUOIDEA
eggs and first instars
(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 black or dark brown hairs covering the thorax and abdomen.
In later instars the hairs on the first few abdominal segments become paler and rust coloured. In direct light with a darker background the hairs can appear pale yellow, and the body can be seen to be brown with rows of pale yellow spots on the back and sides.
The hairs cause a slight rash in some people.
The caterpillar feeds on a variety of herbaceous plants from a variety of families, including:
and in South Australia, it is a pest on plantations of:
The caterpillars feed happily thoughout daylight hours. The later instars are a lawn-keepers friend, consuming two whole Dandelion leaves each day. The caterpillars grow to a length of 5 cms.
The caterpillars pupate 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 extensive black or dark brown 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 has been found over much 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.
Peter B. McQuillan, Jan A. Forrest, David Keane, & Roger Grund,
Caterpillars, moths, and their plants of Southern Australia,
Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc., Adelaide (2019), pp. 154-155.
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, 3 June 2018, 14 October 2020)