Megalorhipida leucodactyla (Fabricius, 1794)
Spiderling Moth
(formerly known as Pterophorus leucodactylus)
PTEROPHORINAE ,   PTEROPHORIDAE ,   PTEROPHORIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Debbie Matthews & Stella Crossley

Megalorhipida leucodactyla

This caterpillar is brown, with pale sides, a dark underside, and a dark head. Each abdominal segment has 4 long black hairs sticking out.

Megalorhipida leucodactyla

The Caterpillar has been reported to feed on a variety of plants, including :

  • Calabash ( Lagenaria siceraria, CUCURBITACEAE ),
  • Te Mao ( Scaevola frutescens, GOODENIACEAE ),
  • Viscid Acacia ( Acacia neovernicosa, MIMOSACEAE ),
  • Scarlet Spiderling ( Boerhavia coccinea, NYCTAGINACEAE ).

    Megalorhipida leucodactyla
    Pupa with scale of 1 mm.

    The adult moths have wings composed of separate feather-like segments. They are brown with black and white markings, and have a wingspan of about 2 cms.

    Megalorhipida leucodactyla
    (photo: courtesy of Donald Hobern, Aranda, Australian Capital Territory)

    The moths have been found in the subtropics around the world, including:

  • Chile,
  • Nederlands,
  • Papua,
  • U.S.A.,

    as well as in Australia in

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.


    Further reading:

    Johan Christian Fabricius,
    Entomologia Systematica Emendata et Aucta,
    Volume 3, Part 2 (1793), p. 346, No. 625.

    Debbie Matthews,
    The Spiderling Plume Moth Megalorhipida leucodactylus (Fabricius) (Pterophoridae) in Florida and Texas,
    Southern Lepidopterists' News, Volume 30, No. 4 (2008), p. 132.


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    (updated 31 October 2012, 28 March 2014)