Orgyia australis Walker, 1855
LYMANTRIIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Orgyia australis
(Photo: courtesy of Trevor Jinks, North Burnett, Queensland)

This Caterpillar is usually brown and hairy with four dorsal tufts of white or brown hair on abdominal segments one to four, and two lateral white tufts each side from segments one and two also. There are two dark hair pencils on the head with knobs on, and one on the tail. The hairs can cause skin irritation ( urticaria ) in sensitive people.

Orgyia australis
(Photo: courtesy of Harold McQueen, Goodna, Queensland)

There appear to be two colour forms of this caterpillar, the second having the body yellow, the tussocks pale brown, and the head red.

The Caterpillars have been found feeding on a variety of plants including:

  • flowers of Camellia ( Camellia japonica, THEACEAE ),
  • River Mangrove ( Aegiceras corniculatum, PRIMULACEAE ),
  • Tagasaste ( Chamaecytisus palmensis, FABACEAE ),
  • Pelargoniums ( Pelargonium species, GERANIACEAE ),
  • various Wattles ( Acacia species, MIMOSACEAE ),
  • Monterey Pine ( Pinus radiata, PINACEAE ), and
  • Spider Flowers ( Grevillea species, PROTEACEAE ).

    They pupate amongst the leaves of the foodplant.

    Orgyia australis
    male
    (Photo: courtesy of Buck Richardson, Kuranda, Queensland)

    The male has brown patterned forewings, with a wingspan of about 3 cms.

    The species has been found in :

  • the north of Western Australia,
  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria, and
  • South Australia.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 43.7, pl. 30.10, p. 428.

    Francis Walker,
    Catalogue of Lepidoptera Heterocera,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 4 (1855), p. 787, No. 16.


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    (updated 28 February 2012, 29 December 2015)