Painted pine moth Orgyia australis, copyright Buck Richardson.

Belongs within: Erebidae.

The Lymantriidae, the tussock moths, are a group of moths whose larvae often feed on trees; the name 'tussock moth' refers not to their feeding habits but to the 'tussocks' or dense tufts of urticating setae possessed by caterpillars of many species. The adults usually lack a proboscis and do not feed. They commonly rest with the wings flattened against the substrate to form a triangle and the fore legs extended forwards (Nielsen & Common 1991).

Characters (from Nielsen & Common 1991): Small to large; ocelli absent; antennae bipectinate to tip in male and usually in female, usually with one to three long terminal setae on each antennal branch; proboscis usually absent; maxillary palps 1-segmented or absent; epiphysis present in male, reduced or absent in female, tibial spurs short, 0-2-4, rarely 0-2-2; females sometimes brachypterous, flightless; fore wing often with areole, R3 and R4 stalked from discal cell or areole, 1A+2A simple; hind wing with Sc diverging from Rs at base but approximated to, and usually connected with, Rs by R1 towards middle of discal cell, rarely fusing with Rs for short distance, Rs and M1 usually stalked, M2 arising nearer to M3 than to M1; thorax and abdomen densely hairy; abdomen with counter-tympanal hood prespiracular, abdominal segment 4 usually with pair of pockets, in female with dense anal tuft. Egg often hemispherical, rounded or subcylindrical, laid in cluster, usually covered in hair-scales from anal tuft. Larva with densely tufted secondary setae, often with four long dense dorsal tufts or with hair-pencils, a coloured dorsal gland on abdominal segment 6 and usually also on 7; external feeders, often arboreal. Pupa stout, hairy, in silken cocoon incorporating larval hairs.

<==Lymantriinae [Lymantriidae, Ocneriidae] ZK11
    |--Arctornis [Arctornithini] ZK11
    `--+--+--Leucoma [Leucomini] ZK11
       |  |    `--L. salicis ZK11
       |  `--Lymantria [Lymantriini] ZK11
       |       |--L. antennata ZS10
       |       |--L. dispar KP99
       |       |--L. dissoluta F92
       |       |--L. monacha V09
       |       `--L. reducta P27
       `--+--Nygmia [Nygmiini] ZK11
          |    |--N. phaeorrhoea F62 [=Lymantria phaeorrhoea F92]
          |    `--N. plana ZK11
          `--Orgyia [Orgyiini] ZK11
               |--O. anartoides C70
               |--O. antiqua D37
               |--O. athlophora C70
               |--O. australis P27
               |--O. ericae F92
               |--O. gonostigma F92
               |--O. media F92
               |--O. pseudotsugata KP99
               |--O. thyellina D37
               `--O. vetusta G05

Lymantriinae incertae sedis:
  Acyphas chionitis G84, P27
  Olene mendosa G84
  Leptocneria reducta NC91
  Iropoca rotundata NC91
  Icta fulviceps NC91
  Dura NC91
  Laelia P27
    |--L. obsoleta P27
    `--L. saturnioides Snellen 1879 M86
  Teia NC91
    |--T. anartoides NC91
    `--T. athlophora NC91
  Porthesia YS10
    |--P. chrysorrhoea YS10
    |--P. fimbriata P27
    |--P. lutea P27
    |--P. paradoxa C70
    `--P. similis F92 [=Euproctis similis RD77]
  Euproctis NC91
    |--E. chrysorrhoea B14
    |--E. conspersa S01
    |--E. cryptosticta F92
    |--E. edwardsii NC91
    |--E. flava F92
    |--E. flavociliata Swinhoe 1901 S01
    |--E. lucifuga NC91
    |--E. minor F92
    |--E. paradoxa NC91
    |--E. phaeorrhaea F92
    `--E. pseudoconspersa F92
  Ocneria F92
    |--O. detrita F92
    `--O. dispar F92
  Hemerocampa RD77
    |--H. pseudotsugae G05
    `--H. vetusta RD77

*Type species of generic name indicated


[B14] Bouchard, P. (ed.) 2014. The Book of Beetles: A lifesize guide to six hundred of nature's gems. Ivy Press: Lewes (United Kingdom).

[C70] Common, I. F. B. 1970. Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers pp. 765–866. Melbourne University Press.

[D37] Dobzhansky, T. 1937. Genetics and the Origin of Species. Columbia University Press: New York.

[F92] Fan Z. 1992. Key to the Common Flies of China 2nd ed. Science Press: Beijing.

[F62] Flanders, S. E. 1962. Did the caterpillar exterminate the giant reptile? Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera 1 (1): 85–88.

[G84] Gauld, I. D. 1984. An Introduction to the Ichneumonidae of Australia. British Museum (Natural History).

[G05] Grissell, E. E. 2005. A review of North American species of Microdontomerus Crawford (Torymidae: Hymenoptera). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 14 (1): 22–65.

[KP99] Kuzio, J., M. N. Pearson, S. H. Harwood, C. J. Funk, J. T. Evans, J. M. Slavicek & G. F. Rohrmann. 1999. Sequence and analysis of the genome of a baculovirus pathogenic for Lymantria dispar. Virology 253: 17–34.

[M86] Meyrick, E. 1886. On some Lepidoptera from the Fly River. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 1 (2): 241–258.

[NC91] Nielsen, E. S., & I. F. B. Common. 1991. Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers 2nd ed. vol. 2 pp. 817–915. Melbourne University Press: Carlton (Victoria).

[P27] Philpott, A. 1927. The maxillae in the Lepidoptera. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 57: 721–746.

[RD77] Richards, O. W., & R. G. Davies. 1977. Imms' General Textbook of Entomology 10th ed. vol. 2. Classification and Biology. Chapman and Hall: London.

[S01] Swinhoe, C. 1901. New genera and species of eastern and Australian moths. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, series 7, 7: 463–473.

[V09] Verdcourt, B. (ed.) 2009. Additions to the wild fauna and flora of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. XXVI. Miscellaneous records. Kew Bulletin 64 (1): 183–194.

[YS10] Yefremova, Z. A. & I. S. Strakhova. 2010. A review of the species of the genus Elasmus Westwood (Hymenoptera, Eulophidae) from Russia and neighboring countries. Entomologicheskoe Obozrenie 89 (3): 634–661.

[ZK11] Zahiri, R., I. J. Kitching, J. D. Lafontaine, M. Mutanen, L. Kaila, J. D. Holloway & N. Wahlberg. 2011. A new molecular phylogeny offers hope for a stable family level classification of the Noctuoidea (Lepidoptera). Zoologica Scripta 40 (2): 158–173.

[ZS10] Zborowski, P., & R. Storey. 2010. A Field Guide to Insects in Australia 3rd ed. Reed New Holland: Sydney.

Last updated: 21 February 2021.

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