Mistletoe Brown-Tail Moth
(also known as Nygmia edwardsi)
LYMANTRIIDAE , NOCTUOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of Halina Steele, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory)
The Caterpillars of this species are grey, often with rusty red markings, and with white patches on the abdominal segments. They have white lateral hairs along each side. There are two pairs of knobs on the back of the first two and last abdominal segments. The penultimate pair of abdominal segments each have a dorsal gland.
The caterpillars feed on:
When the larvae run out of food, they wander off, often invading dwellings. This is not good, as the hairs on this caterpillar cause Urticaria and Dendrolimiasis in sensitive individuals. If you or people in your family are sensitive, you will have to be vigilant and collect any larvae that you see into say a jam jar for transport a long way away. Killing in situ or even burning them is hazardous as the hairs from the dead larvae can blow about and cause more inflammation.
The adult moth is a plain orange-brown, with a faint pale spot near the middle of each forewing. The moth has prominent pair of black eyes, and a dark abdomen with a yellow tuft on the tip. The moth has a wingspan of about 5 cms.
The species occurs over the whole south-east quarter of Australia, including:
Further reading :
Butterflies and Moths, Collins Eyewitness Handbooks, Sydney 1992, p. 269.
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 55.4, pl. 19.13, pp. 69, 429.
Moths of Victoria: part 2,
Tiger Moths and their Allies - Noctuoidea (A),
Entomological Society of Victoria, 2009, pp. 16-19.
Characters of a few Australian Lepidoptera, Collected by Mr. Thomas R. Oxley,
Transactions of the Entomological Society of London,
New Series, Volume III, Number 8 (1856), pp. 284-285, and also Plate 18, fig. 10.
Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards,
A Guide to Australian Moths, CSIRO Publishing, 2007, pp. 176, 179.
(updated 13 November 2010, 15 January 2017)