Caterpillar of mottled cup moth Doratifera vulnerans, photographed by Chris Greenaway.

Belongs within: Zygaenoidea.

The Limacodidae are a widespread family of moths with reduced proboscids, with most species found in the tropics. Larvae of a number of species bear toxic needle-like setae, giving them the name of ‘nettle caterpillars’ (Grimaldi & Engel 2005). Eggs are scale-like and laid in overlapping batches or singly (Nielsen & Common 1991). Larvae of the genus Doratifera are known in Australia as significant defoliators as trees such as Eucalyptus or stonefruit (Nielsen & Common 1991).

Characters (from Nielsen & Common 1991): Small to medium sized; head with rather smooth vestiture of piliform or lamellar scales; ocelli and chaetosemata absent; antenna bipectinate in male, at least in basal half, dentate or filiform in female; proboscis and maxillary palps minute or absent; labial palps short, 2- or 3-segmented; epiphysis absent; spurs 0-2-2 or 0-2-4, rarely absent; femora and tibiae often woolly; fore wing broad triangular, apex rounded, chorda absent, M present in cell, R3, R4 and R5 stalked, CuP present; hind wing with three frenular bristles in female, M present in cell, Sc+R1 fused with Rs near base or Sc is connected to Rs by R1, CuP present; female abdomen with lateral projections from segment 8. Eggs scale-like, in overlapping batches or singly. Larva heteromorphic; 1st instar larva broad and flattened, with four spines on each segment; later instar larvae slug-like, with head retracted, antennae long, thoracic legs reduced, prolegs absent, sometimes with ventral suckers on abdominal segments 1-7, setae often modified, with stinging hairs or reduced; feed exposed. Pupa in oval or pyriform cocoon, with circular, lid-like opening at one end.

<==Limacodidae [Cochlidiidae, Eucleidae, Heterogenidae]
    |--Adoneta spinuloidesP27
    |--Prolimacodes scaphaP27
    |--Lithacodes fasciolaP27
    |--Cochlidion biguttataP27
    |--Pseudanapaea denotataNC91, ZS10
    |--Mecytha fasciataNC91
    |--Altha rufipuncta Hampson 1901H01
    |--Thosea bhaga Swinhoe 1901S01
    |--Contheyla chara Swinhoe 1901S01
    |--Heuretes picticornis [incl. Monoleuca albicollis]E96
    |--Demonarosa rufotessellataKP19
    |--Empretia stimuleaRD77
    |--Monema flavescensRD77, A71
    |--Apoda Haworth 1809 [=Cochlidium Hübner 1822, Limacodes Berthold in Latreille 1827]P08
    |    `--*A. limacodes (Hufnagel 1766) [=*Cochlidium limacodes, *Limacodes limacodes]P08
    |--Euprosterna Dyar 1905 [incl. Epiclea Dyar 1905]E96
    |    `--E. elaea (Druce 1887) [=Perola elaea, *Epiclea elaea; incl. Euprosterna elaeasa Dyar 1905]E96
    |    |--S. humeralisP27
    |    `--S. sinensis (Walker 1856) [=Tadema sinensis]S01
    |--Baria Karsch 1896O08
    |    |--*B. elsa (Druce 1888) [=Natada elsa]O08
    |    `--B. transversata Karsch 1899O08
    |    |--M. scotopiplaS01
    |    `--M. sola Swinhoe 1901S01
    |    |--N. concinna Swinhoe 1901S01
    |    `--N. conspersaS01
    |    |--M. longifascia Epstein 1996E96
    |    |--M. occidentalisE96
    |    `--M. semifasciaP27
    |    |--P. consociaF92
    |    |--P. lepidaMHG04
    |    `--P. sinicaF92
    |    |--C. coronesC91
    |    |--C. fasciataB88
    |    `--C. miltocosmaC70
    |    |--D. castaN70
    |    |--D. oxleyiNC91
    |    `--D. vulneransNC91 [=D. longerans (l. c.)B88]
    |    |--E. byrneE96
    |    |--E. indeterminaRD77
    |    |--E. paenulataP27
    |    `--E. punctata Druce 1901D01
    |    |--P. dertosa Druce 1900D00
    |    |--P. repetita Druce 1900D00
    |    |--P. salta Druce 1900D00
    |    |--P. sardites Druce 1900D00
    |    `--P. vafera Druce 1900D00
         |--S. marisa Druce 1900D00
         `--S. phara Druce 1900D00

*Type species of generic name indicated


[A71] Askew, R. R. 1971. Parasitic Insects. Heinemann Educational Books: London.

[B88] Bouček, Z. 1988. Australasian Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera): A biosystematic revision of genera of fourteen families, with a reclassification of species. CAB International: Wallingford (UK).

[C70] CSIRO. 1970. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers. Melbourne University Press.

[C91] CSIRO. 1991. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers 2nd ed. vol. 1. Melbourne University Press: Carlton (Victoria).

[D00] Druce, H. 1900. Descriptions of some new genera and species of Heterocera from tropical South America. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, series 7, 5: 507–527.

[D01] Druce, H. 1901. Descriptions of some new species of Lepidoptera from east Africa and tropical America. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, series 7, 7: 432–444.

[E96] Epstein, M. E. 1996. A new species and generic placement for the misidentified type species of Epiclea Dyar, 1905 (Lepidoptera: Limacodidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 98 (4): 812–817.

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

[GE05] Grimaldi, D., & M. S. Engel. 2005. Evolution of the Insects. Cambridge University Press: New York.

[H01] Hampson, G. F. 1901. The Lepidoptera-Phalaenae of the Bahamas. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, series 7, 7: 246–261.

[KP19] Kawahara, A. Y., D. Plotkin, M. Espeland, K. Meusemann, E. F. A. Toussaint, A. Donath, F. Gimnich, P. B. Frandsen, A. Zwick, M. dos Reis, J. R. Barber, R. S. Peters, S. Liu, X. Zhou, C. Mayer, L. Podsiadlowski, C. Storer, J. E. Yack, B. Misof & J. W. Breinholt. 2019. Phylogenomics reveals the evolutionary timing and pattern of butterflies and moths. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 116 (45): 22657–22663.

[MHG04] Maynard, G. V., J. G. Hamilton & J. F. Grimshaw. 2004. Quarantine—phytosanitary, sanitary and incursion management: an Australian entomological perspective. Australian Journal of Entomology 43 (3): 318–328.

[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).

[N70] Norris, K. R. 1970. General biology. In: CSIRO. The Insects of Australia: A textbook for students and research workers pp. 107–140. Melbourne University Press.

[O08] Özdikmen, H. 2008. Nomenclatural changes for some preoccupied harvestman genus group names (Arachnida: Opiliones). Turkish Journal of Arachnology 1 (1): 37–43.

[P08] Paclt, J. 2008. On the triple usage of the family name Apodidae in zoology (Aves; Crustacea; Insecta). Senckenbergiana Biologica 88 (1): 49–52.

[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.

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

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