Leaf Case Moth
(one synonym : Psyche nuda Wallengren, 1861)
(Photo: courtesy of Oscar Brown, Port Hedland, Western Australia)
The caterpillars seem to feed on the leaves of nearly any plant. They have been found on plants from such families as:
The case can grow to a length of up to 5 cms.
Only the head and thorax have a protective chitinous skin. The caterpillar keeps its unprotected abdomen permanently in its case.
The caterpillar pupates inside its case. When a male adult is ready to emerge, he pushes the pupa out of the back end of the case. When a female is ready to emerge, she does so inside the case.
The adult female is wingless, and stays within her case. Her emergence from her pupa is however signalled by the extrusion of a large amount of fluffy silk from the case. She looks like a bag of eggs, with a vestigial head and some tiny legs on one end. She has a length of about 1 cm.
The male has wings that are bluish and transparent, a black body, and orange antennae. He has a wingspan of about 2 cms.
The male can extend his abdomen and reach it into the end of a female's case for copulation.
The species is found over most of mainland Australia, including:
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, figs. 19.9, 51.6, p. 180.
Life history and biology of the Leaf Bagworm, Hyalarcta huebneri (Westwood) (Lepidoptera: Psychidae),
Australian Journal of Entomology,
Volume 14 (1975), pp. 353-361.
Peter B. McQuillan, Jan A. Forrest, David Keane, & Roger Grund,
Caterpillars, moths, and their plants of Southern Australia,
Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc., Adelaide (2019), p. 41.
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 184.
John O. Westwood,
Descriptions of some species of Lepidopterous insects belonging to the genus Oiketicus,
Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London,
Volume 22 (1854), p. 228,, and Plate 36, fig. 1.
(updated 12 September 2012, 23 September 2017, 22 October 2020)