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Mottled Cup Moth

Doratifera vulnerans

Mottled Cup Moth
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Mottled Cup Moth  Doratifera vulnerans
The Mottled Cup Moth, lay their eggs in a cluster and are covered with hair from the mother moth. When they hatch, the caterpillars eat in a group, and only eat the top surface of the leaves. Later the caterpillars separate, and eat whole leaves.

They may be many different colours, but all have a yellow splotch on each side, surrounded by white and black. They all have a frill of pale spikes around their bodies. When disturbed, the caterpillar raises stinging hairs that grow on spikes. All in all, it is a very good-looking caterpillar!

When they are fully developed, the caterpillars form cocoons that resemble gumnuts. The cocoon is about 1 cm long.

After metamorphosing, the moth exits the cocoon by way of a weak ring at the top of it. The moth's wingspan is about 4 cm. It is a drab-looking creature by comparison, being several shades of brown. It has an ingenious way of hiding during the day - it stays still, sticking off a branch like a dead twig.

To see more images of this fantastic looking caterpillar, click here...

Mottled Cup Moth (Doratifera vulnerans) - Photo: Katrina   2005 Mottled Cup Moth (Doratifera vulnerans) - Photo: Katrina   2005

Common Names - Mottled Cup Moth (Doratifera vulnerans)

There are 115 named Australian species of cup moths. They have been variously called Battleships, Spitfires and Warships, because of the stinging spines that is found on many of the caterpillar species.
Common Name Scientific Name Where Found
Mottled Cup Moth Doratifera vulnerans NSW, QLD, VIC
Painted Cup Moth Doratifera oxleyi Common in NSW, SA, TAS, VIC
Four Spotted Cup Moth Doratifera quadriguttata NSW, QLD, VIC
     
Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Limacodidae
Genus: Doratifera
Species: D. vulnerans 

Mottled Cup Moth (Doratifera vulnerans) Other links

Australian Museum Online
For more information, check out their fact sheet on Cup moths.
Limacodidae of Australia
Contains a superb section on the Cup and Slug Moths by Don Herbison-Evans and Stella Crossley.
 
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