Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Procession caterpillar

Ochrogaster lunifer THAUMETOPOEINAE NOTODONTIDAE

This is our local procession caterpillar. The larvae are nocturnal feeders usually massed in a web at the base of the tree, and climbing the tree to feed at night. The larval food plant is usually Acacia species, but they have been found on other plant species as well.
This is not a common moth here because we do not have the preferred wattle tree.
They are capable of completely stripping the leaves from a tree and when this happens, they will then sometimes form a long procession line, nose to tail, headed for another tree. Children sometimes lead the front of the line around to the back of the line then forming a circular procession.
These are another one of the moth larvae that, if handled, can cause urticaria. The spines on the caterpillar can break off in the skin causing irritation.



 Family:-  NOTODONTIDAE
Sub Family:- THAUMETOPOEINAE
Genus:- Ochrogaster
Species:- lunifer






This photo was taken at the town of Blackbutt a couple of years ago and is a typical procession. I have never counted the numbers but the lines are often quite long.



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Assara holophragma PHYCITINAE PYRALIDAE  

There is a moth listed on the Butterfly House (http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/moths.html) site as Aurana actiosella which looks very similar to this moth.It may be that one or the other is incorrectly named. The samples of A. actiosella on BOLD Systems suggest that Assara holophragma is the correct name for this moth.



Family:- PYRALIDAE
Sub Family:- PHYCITINAE
Genus:-   Assara
Species:- holophragma



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