Tinea pellionella Linnaeus, 1758
Case-Making Clothes Moth
(one synonym : Phalaena zoolegella Scopoli, 1763)
TINEINAE ,   TINEIDAE ,   TINEOIDEA
  
Don Herbison-Evans,
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Tinea pellionella
Caterpillar in its case
(Photo: courtesy of Pest Supply)

The Caterpillar is off-white with a dark brown head and prothorax. The caterpillar lives in a silk case covered in fibres from its food items. The caterpillar feeds on anything containing keratin, such as wool, feathers, and even animal corpses. It grows to a length of about 1 cm.

Tinea pellionella
case with skin of extruded pupa
(Photo: courtesy of Entomart)

It pupates in its case, and extrudes the pupa just before the adult moth emerges.

Tinea pellionella
(Photo: courtesy of Entomart)

The adult moth is has forewings that are pale brown speckled with grey and black. Each forewing is crossed by two vague incomplete dark bars. The hindwings are off-white, shading to brown at the margins. The wingspan is about 1 cm.

The species is found as several subspecies all over the world, including

  • Japan,
  • New Zealand,
  • U.K., and
  • U.S.A..

    This species was unfortunately introduced into Australia by accident, now being found over much of the country, including

  • Queensland,
  • Australian Capital Territory, and
  • Tasmania.


    Further reading :

    Densey Clyne,
    The Best of Wildlife in the Suburbs,
    Oxford University Press Australia 1993, pp. 125-128.

    Carl Linnaeus,
    Insecta Lepidoptera,
    Systema Naturae,
    Edition 10, Volume 1 (1760), Class 5, Part 3, p. 536, No. 254.

    Gaden S. Robinson & Ebbe S. Nielsen,
    Tineid Genera of Australia,
    Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Volume 2,
    CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne 1993, pp. ix, x, 10, 246-252, 263, 279.


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    (updated 3 February 2009, 31 July 2015)