Acyphas semiochrea (Herrich-Schaffer, [1855])
Omnivorous Tussock Moth
(one synonym : Euproctis leucomelas Walker, 1855)
LYMANTRIIDAE ,   NOCTUOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Acyphas semiochrea
(Photo: courtesy of Ian Common, from Moths of Australia)

This Caterpillar is brown and hairy, with a dorsal row of pale patches, and with a pencil of black hairs each side of its head. It also has a hairy tail. It is a pest in South Australia on:

  • Monterey Pine ( Pinus radiata, PINACEAE ).

    and also known to feed on:

  • Wattles ( Acacia, MIMOSACEAE ),
  • Gum Trees ( Eucalyptus, MYRTACEAE ),
  • Pultenaea ( FABACEAE ),
  • Dodonaea ( SAPINDACEAE ),
  • Choretrum ( SANTALACEAE ),
  • Myoporum ( MYOPORACEAE ), and
  • Tamarix ( TAMARICACEAE ).

    Acyphas semiochrea
    Male
    (Photo: courtesy of Peter Marriott)

    The adult female moth is white, and has an orange tuft on the tail. The male moths are white, sometimes with a dark mark at the tornus of each forewing, and sometimes with a broad dark band along the margin of each forewing. Sometimes the hairs around the thorax are yellowish. Sometimes the black skin of the thorax and/or abdomen shows through between the white hairs. The moths have a wingspan up to 3 cms. It is possible that the one name is being used for more than one species.

    Acyphas semiochrea
    Male
    (Photo: courtesy of Peter Marriott)

    The eggs are laid in a cluster almost anywhere. They are covered by the female with brown hairs from her body.

    The species occurs across most of Australia, including:

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

    Acyphas semiochrea
    Male
    (Specimen: courtesy of the The Australian Museum)


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia, Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 43.13, pp. 70, 429-430.

    Peter Marriott ,
    Moths of Victoria - Part 2, Tiger Moths and Allies - NOCTUOIDEA (A) ,
    Entomological Society of Victoria, 2009, pp. 16-19.


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    (updated 11 April 2011)