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).

The gypsy moth Lymantria dispar is a native of Eurasia that has become globally widespread as an invasive pest, notorious for its defoliation of multiple tree species.

Characters (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, Orgyiinae]ZK11
| | i. s.: Ocneria Hübner 1819 [Ocneriadae]FL05
| | |--O. detritaF92
| | `--O. disparF92
| |--Arctornis Germar 1810FL05 [ArcornithinaZK11, Arctornithini]
| `--+--Leucoma Hübner 1822FL05 [Leucomidae, LeucominaZK11, Leucomini]
| | `--L. salicisZK11
| `--Lymantria Hübner 1819FL05 [LymantriinaZK11, Lymantriini]
| |--L. antennataZS10
| |--L. disparKP99
| |--L. dissolutaF92
| |--L. monachaV09
| `--L. reductaP27
|--Nygmiina [Nygmiini]LS13
| |--Nygmia Hübner 1820FL05
| | |--N. phaeorrhoeaF62 [=Lymantria phaeorrhoeaF92]
| | `--N. planaZK11
| `--EuproctisLS13
| |--E. chrysorrhoeaB14
| |--E. conspersaS01
| |--E. cryptostictaF92
| |--E. edwardsiiNC91
| |--E. flavaF92
| |--E. flavociliata Swinhoe 1901S01
| |--E. lucifugaNC91
| |--E. minorF92
| |--E. paradoxaNC91
| |--E. phaeorrhaeaF92
| |--E. pseudoconspersaF92
| `--E. pulverea Hampson 1900JG19
`--Orgyiina [Orgyides]LS13
|--Dasychira Hübner 1809LS13, FL05 [Dasychirae]
| |--D. axuthaF92
| |--D. baibaranF92
| |--D. fascelinaF92
| |--D. groenlandicaF92
| |--D. mendosaF92
| |--D. pudibundaF92
| `--D. seleniticaF92
`--Orgyia Ochsenheimer 1810FL05
|--O. anartoidesC70
|--O. antiqua (Linnaeus 1758)L49, L58 [=Phalaena (Bombyx) antiquaL58, L49]
|--O. athlophoraC70
|--O. australisP27
|--O. ericaeF92
|--O. gonostigmaF92
|--O. mediaF92
|--O. pseudotsugataKP99
|--O. thyellinaD37
`--O. vetustaG05

Lymantriinae incertae sedis:
Acyphas chionitisG84, P27
Olene mendosaG84
Leptocneria reductaNC91
Iropoca rotundataNC91
Icta fulvicepsNC91
|--L. obsoletaP27
`--L. saturnioides Snellen 1879M86
|--T. anartoidesNC91
`--T. athlophoraNC91
|--P. chrysorrhoeaYS10
|--P. collucens Lucas 1890 [=Euphrostis collucens]L90
|--P. fimbriataP27
|--P. luteaP27
|--P. paradoxaC70
|--P. pulverea Hampson 1900JG19
`--P. similisF92 [=Euproctis similisRD77]
|--H. pseudotsugaeG05
`--H. vetustaRD77

*Type species of generic name indicated


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[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.

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[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.

[LS13] Lafontaine, J. D., & B. C. Schmidt. 2013. Comments on differences in classification of the superfamily Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) between Eurasia and North America. ZooKeys 264: 209–217.

[L58] Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis revised 10th ed. vol. 1. Laurentii Salvii: Holmiae.

[L49] Lucas, H. 1849. Exploration Scientifique de l’Algérie pendant les années 1840, 1841, 1842 publiée par ordre du gouvernement et avec le concours d’une commission académique. Sciences physiques. Zoologie. II. Histoire naturelle des animaux articulés. Troisième partie. Insectes (suite). Imprimerie Nationale: Paris.

[L90] Lucas, T. P. 1890. On Queensland and other Australian macro-Lepidoptera, with localities, and descriptions of new species. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, series 2, 4 (4): 1065–1099.

[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.

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