Bagworm Moth (Psychidae)

Bagworm moths are a family of moths consisting of 1350 species. The most notable feature of these moths is that the caterpillars live inside a silk “bag” in the larval stage.

List of Moths in this Family

  • Epichnopterix plumella
  • Stichobasis postmeridianus
  • Whittleia retiella
  • Dahlica triquetrella
  • Snailcase bagworm moth (Apterona helicoidella)
  • Evergreen bagworm moth (Thyridopteryx ephemeraeformis)
  • Hairy Sweep moth (Canephora hirsuta)
  • Cryptothelea gloverii
  • Wattle bagworm (Kotochalia junodi)
  • Fangalabola (Deborrea malgassa)
  • Faggot worm (Eumeta crameri)
  • Megalophanes viciella
  • Ptilocephala plumifera
  • Sterrhopterix fusca
  • Common bag moth (Liothula omnivora)
  • Luffia ferchaultella
  • Luffia lapidella
  • Psyche casta
  • Psyche crassiorella
  • Psyche rassei
  • Anaproutia comitella
  • Bankesia conspurcatella
  • Australian bagmoth (Cebysa leucotelus)
  • Diplodoma adspersella
  • Typhonia animosa
  • Typhonia bimaculata
  • Eumasia crisostomella
  • Scoriodyta conisalia
  • Eumasia parietariella
  • Iphierga chrysophaes
  • Scoriodyta conisalia
  • Metisa canifrons
  • Pseudarbela celaena
  • Pseudarbela aurea
  • Pseudarbela papuana
  • Pseudarbela semperi
  • Casana trochiloides
  • Linggana cardinaali

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

The larva spends most of their time inside a case made of silk and other materials like lichen, sand, soil, and plant materials. If taken out of the bag, one could see that the first three segments are yellow, while the posterior end is brown. The case is 1-15 cm, constructed to fit an individual specimen.

Once fully grown, they are 2.5 cm long, taking 4 months to mature.

Pupa

The pupa is dark brown to black, with pupation taking place inside its larval case after attaching itself to a branch with a silk thread. They remain in this stage for 7-10 days.

Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present. Adult females do not develop much and remain in a larviform stage throughout their life, while the males develop wings and setae on their bodies.

Color and Appearance

When opened, the wings are translucent. When closed, they fold into a tent shape.

Average wingspan: 2.5 cm

Flight pattern: Erratic; dependent on female pheromones

Season: August-September

Egg

They are smooth and cylindrical, with 500-1000 eggs laid per clutch in a waxy mass.

Quick Facts

Other names Bagmoths, case moths
Distribution Worldwide
Habitat Trees and shrubbery
Lifespan of Adults 7-10 days; males die soon after mating while females die after laying eggs
Predators Parasitic wasps, hornets
Host Plants Broadleaf and evergreen plants such as box elder, cedar, cherry, cypress, elm, juniper, maple, oak, persimmon, pines, sumac, sycamore, and willow
Adult Diet Does not feed

Did You Know

  • The pupae of the fangalabola are a protein-rich food in parts of Madagascar, with locals encouraging their growth on wattle trees.