Day Moths 
Wattle Goat Moth
Dog-faced Bell Moth
Mottled Bell Moth
Hopper-mimicking Moth
Golden Brown Leafroller
Leafroller Caterpillars
Sun Moths
Golden Metalmark Moth
Metallica Moth 
Forester Moths
Wattle Cup Caterpillar
Mottled Cup Moth
Black Slug Cup Moth
Four-spotted Cup Moth  
Green Slug Caterpillar  
Fern Cup Moth  
Unknown in this Group


Cup Moths - Family Limacodidae

Order Lepidoptera 

This page contains pictures and information about Cup Moths and Caterpillars in family Limacodidae that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
Cup moth adults have scout and furry bodies with board wings. They are medium in size. They are usually yellow to brown in colours. They have smooth head and maxillary palps short or absent. The antenna are half of the body length and held antenna back along edge of wings when rest. Males have short bipectinate antenna, dentate or filiform in female. They are mostly nocturnal although some are thought to be diurnal.  They fly rapidly and erratically. 
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Cup cocoon                                                                                                                                     Caterpillars, two different species            
The moths of this family are named 'Cup Moths' because the shape of their pupal cocoon look like a cup. Their cocoons usually have the wooden round shape, attached to a twig or bark of the food plants. The cocoon look like the fruit of the gum tree on the leaves which they feed. 
Caterpillars in this family show their stinging hairs when disturbed. Late-instars caterpillars usually have the bright warning colours. The head is hide under thorax. Their sting will give a painful nettle-like sting and burning feeling. They also known as Spitfires. They are slug-like, walk like a slug for they do not have prolegs and all their true legs are reduced. They feed openly on leaves during the day. They feed on a variety of plants. Most of them, such as those Doratifera species, feed on gum leaves.

Wattle Cup Caterpillar
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Calcarifera ordinata, body length 30mm, 10mm 
We sometimes find this caterpillar on wattle leaves. The caterpillar is bright yellow with blue green and orange colours. There are a number of tubercles around its body. More information can be found in this page.

Genus Doratifera 

All Doratifera sp. caterpillars feed on Eucalyptus and sometimes on Lophostemon or Angophora. 
Mottled Cup Moth, Chinese Junk
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Doratifera vulnerans, caterpillar length 20mm, cup diameter 10mm, adult wing span 30mm
Mottled Cup Moth caterpillars are pale brown in colour with the bright warning colours white, pink and yellow in the middle. They show their stinging hairs when disturbed. The adult moths are mottled brown in colour with hairy thorax. More information and pictures please click here.
Black Slug Cup Moth
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Doratifera casta, body length 25mm, cup diameter 10mm, adult wing span 30mm
The caterpillar was found on blade grass in Macgregor Bushland during mod summer. Few days later, the caterpillar pupated on the side of the glass jar. The pupa was brown in colour. The second picture shows the moth came out from the pupa after two weeks. More information and pictures please click here.
Four-spotted Cup Moth
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Doratifera quadriguttata, body length 30mm, adult wing span 30mm
We found some Four-spotted Cup Moth caterpillars in Alexandra Hill during mid summer. They were feeding openly on young gum tree leaves during the day. We took a few of them home to watch their grow. We also took some branches of gum leaves as their food. The caterpillar turned into pupa then adult moth. Details are recorded here.

Green Slug Caterpillar
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Eloasa symphonistis, body length 10mm, 30mm
We found this caterpillars in Alexandra Hill bushland. In mid-summer, they are easily seen on Acacia leaves. They move very slowly. The Caterpillars are green in colour with dome shaped.  The larger caterpillars have a number of faint pale lines running along its body. They pupates in between leaves in a hard brown cocoon. The moth is brown in colour. Please also visit this page for more photos.

Fern Cup Moth
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? Hedraea quadridens, body length 30mm 
The Fern Cup Moth caterpillars are brightly green in colour, with dark green and white lines along their body. Their body are full of stinging hairy spikes, especially two pair at the front and two pair at the end. If contacted, the infected area will be pain and itching, accompany with burning feeling. We found this Fern Cup Moth caterpillar in Alexandra Hill along the creek feeding on the young bracken fern Pteridium esculentum during mid summer. More information and pictures please click here.

1. LIMACODIDAE in Australia - Don Herbison-Evans & Stella Crossley, 2009.
2. Moths of Australia - I. F. B. Common, Melbourne University Press, 1990, p299.
3. A Guide to Australian Moths - Paul Zborowski, Ted Edwards, CSIRO PUBLISHING, 2007, p113.  
4. Northern Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009.

Up ] Wattle Cup caterpillar ] Mottled Cup Moth ] Black Slug Cup Moth ] Four-Spotted Cup Moth ] Green Slug Caterpillar ] Fern Cup Moth ]
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Last updated: August 13, 2011.