Spilosoma glatignyi (Le Guillou, 1841)
Black and White Tiger Moth
(also known as : Ardices glatignyi)
ARCTIINAE,   ARCTIIDAE,   NOCTUOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Spilosoma glatignyi eggs
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.

Spilosoma glatignyi caterpillars
(Photo: courtesy of Annamarie Boddy, Mahogany Creek, Western Australia)

Later instars have a brown head capsule, and are very hairy, with black or dark brown hairs covering the thorax and abdomen.

Spilosoma glatignyi caterpillar
(Photo: courtesy of Ken Harris, Moths of Victoria - Part 2, 2nd edition, Tiger Moths and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (A))

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.

Spilosoma glatignyi caterpillar
(Photo: courtesy of Annamarie Boddy, Mahogany Creek, Western Australia)

The hairs cause a slight rash in some people.

Spilosoma glatignyi
head, close-up
(Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)

The caterpillar feeds on a variety of herbaceous plants from a variety of families, including:

  • Dandelion ( Taraxacum officinale, ASTERACEAE ),
  • Salvation Jane ( Echium plantagineum, BORAGINACEAE ),
  • Hop Goodenia ( Goodenia ovata, GOODENIACEAE ),
  • Plantains ( Plantago, PLANTAGINACEAE ),
  • Mirror Bush ( Coprosma repens, RUBIACEAE ), and
  • Scrub Nettle ( Urtica incisa, URTICACEAE ),

    and in South Australia, it is a pest on plantations of:

  • Monterey Pine ( Pinus radiata, PINACEAE ).

    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.

    Spilosoma glatignyi cocoon
    partly opened cocoon showing pupa
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Harris, Morwell Park, Victoria)

    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.

    Spilosoma glatignyi pupa
    extracted naked pupa
    (Photo: courtesy of Ken Harris, Morwell Park, Victoria)

    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.

    Spilosoma glatignyi

    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.

    Spilosoma glatignyi
    (Photo: courtesy of Genevieve Schebeck)

    The species may be found over the whole of the southern half of Australia, including

  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Terriory,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

    Spilosoma glatignyi
    underside
    (Photo: copyright of Brett and Marie Smith, Ellura Sanctuary, South Australia)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 19.10, p. 435.

    Pat and Mike Coupar,
    Flying Colours,
    New South Wales University Press, Sydney 1992, pl. 19.10, p. 34.

    L.C. Haines,
    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 Marriott,
    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.


    previous
    back
    caterpillar
    Australian
    Australian Butterflies
    butterflies
    Australian
    home
    Lepidoptera
    Australian
    Australian Moths
    moths
    next
    next
    caterpillar

    (updated 2 May 2013, 3 June 2018)