Mottled Cup Moth
Black Slug Cup Moth
Four-spotted Cup Moth
Fern Cup Moth
Wattle Cup Caterpillar  
Green Slug Caterpillar  
Sinister Moth
Fallen Bark Looper
Dry Leaf Looper Moth 
Bizarre Looper Moth I


Mottled Cup Moth - Doratifera vulnerans

Family Limacodidae 

This page contains pictures and information about Mottled Cup Moths that we found in the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.

Caterpillar 20mm
Mottled Cup Moth caterpillars are pale brown in colour, the bright warning colours white, pink and yellow in the middle. They show their stinging hairs when disturbed. Mottled Cup Caterpillar is also known as Chinese Junk because of their shape and their way of moving like ship at sea..
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Cocoon diameter 8mm
Cocoons look like a wooden cup, lip opened after the adult moth emerged. Those cocoon cups are easily found on stems of gum tree, which is the footplant of the caterpillars.
The caterpillar does not show it sting when resting and feeding, only shows it stinging hairs when disturbed. If touch, will receive painful nettle-like stings, sometimes swelling into red lumps. The caterpillar feed openly in daytime. 
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Adults body length 18mm
At first, we had tried to raise the Cup Moth from caterpillar but without success. The caterpillar seemed not feeding when it was in the jar. It died a few days later. May be we did not find their right food plants. Later we found some Cup Moth pupa and found that they take more than four weeks in pupa stage during spring season of Brisbane. The moth was bright brown in colour, with hairy thorax. 

Raising Mottled Cup Caterpillars

In the next year summer, we found a batch of small Mottled Cup Caterpillars. We tried to raise them them again. We brought them home and did more carefully this time. We found the caterpillars on a young gum tree. We bring along with some leaves from this gum tree as the food for the caterpillars. 
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Small caterpillars length 5mm                                 5 days later, length 10mm
We found that for the small caterpillars, they feed individually during the day time and state together after evening. They feed on new fully grown leaves on gum tree. They grew to double their length within 5 days. When they grew older, they did not stay together.
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10 days later, length 20mm
We put the caterpillars in a jar with a branch of leaves that we collected from the gum tree. The jar was covered by a cloth and tighten by rubber bend. We cleaned the jar everyday. We replace a new branch of leaves in the jar every two or three days because the caterpillar ate a lot. To keep the leaves fresh, we put them in our refrigerator.  
Their length was double  for another 5 days. They look much the same except their strings look much stronger. 
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Two weeks later, they grew up to about 25mm length, some of them start to make their cocoon. Watch carefully at the above first picture you will see the caterpillar turned itself inside out, weaving the cocoon inside. The second picture was one day later, when the cocoon became harden. Within three days, all the caterpillars turned into cocoons.
Two weeks later, the little bright brown moths come out from their cocoons one by one. They come out during the mid-night. 

Up ] [ Mottled Cup Moth ] Black Slug Cup Moth ] Four-Spotted Cup Moth ] Fern Cup Moth ] Rainbow Cup caterpillar ] Green Slug Caterpillar ]

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Last updated: March 22, 2009.