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Plaster Bagworm (Phereoeca uterella)

The plaster bagworm is a member of the family of fungus moths. Amateur entomologist Thomas de Grey, 6th Baron Walsingham first described this species in 1897.

Plaster Bagworm


Scientific Classification

  • Family: Tineidae
  • Genus: Phereoeca
  • Scientific Name: Phereoeca uterella

Description and Identification


Fully developed caterpillars are white with a dark brown head. They have three pairs of brown legs and a set of white pro-legs.

The larvae are rarely seen as they spend most of their lives inside their cases. Cases are around 1.4 cm long and look like pumpkin seeds.

Plaster Bagworm Caterpillar



Pupation takes place inside the larval case.

Plaster Bagworm Cocoon


Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present. Males are noticeably smaller than females.

Color and Appearance

Forewing: When the wings are opened, they are gray with dark spots. When they are closed, the colors remain the same.

Hindwing: When the wings are opened, they are plain and lined with long gray hairs. When they are closed, the hairs remain visible.

Average wingspan: 1.3 cm (females); 0.9 cm (males)

Flight pattern: Erratic

Season: Year-round


They are soft, pale blue, and about 0.4 mm long.

Quick Facts

Other NamesHousehold casebearer, atʃitʃiɁũɨi (in Kwaza)
DistributionAmericas, including Florida and Louisiana in the US, and Brazil and Guyana in South America
HabitatTropical environments
Lifespan of Adults8-20 days
Host PlantsSilk, especially that woven by spiders; also, dandruff, fallen human hair, and wool
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • The species found in Sri Lanka, Tinea pachyspila, is thought to either be a member of this species of moths or a household case-bearing moth.
Plaster Bagworm Picture


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