Banded Lichen Moth
(one synonym: Comarchis gradata Lucas, 1890)
LITHOSIINAE, ARCTIIDAE, NOCTUOIDEA
(Photo: Don Herbison-Evans, Sydney, New South Wales)
This Caterpillar hatches from a patch of about 80 grey eggs laid on a sheltered wall or rock.
The caterpillar is dark grey and yellow, with a tuft of hair protruding sideways from each segment. The caterpillars live communally, sheltering in a crevice by day, and feeding by night. They appear to feed on:
They grow rather slowly: after nearly 12 months reaching a length of about 1.5 cms.
They pupate in a mass of adjacent cocoons in a crevice.
The individual pupae are very decorative, with orange and black markings.
The moth emerges after about a fortnight in summer or several months across winter. It is small, and black and yellow, with a wingspan of about 1.5 cms.
The species occurs in:
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, pl. 18.17, pp. 70, 437.
List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
Part 2 (1854), p. 531, No. 1.
(updated 18 July 2012)