Southern Tussock Moth (Dasychira meridionalis)
The southern tussock moth is a member of the family of Erebidae moths. It is native to North America, primarily in the southeastern United States.
Description and Identification
The larvae are black and white. Some specimens can be seen with orange dots all over their body, but those are mites that use the caterpillar as a mode of transport. They have long, black, hairy antennae and two black spots – a large one at the mid-section and another longer, thinner one at the rear.
After fully maturing, the caterpillar begins to pupate.
Sexual Dimorphism: Present. The males have prominent feathery antennae.
Color and Appearance
They have an earthy appearance, with a mixture of gray, green, and purple shades. The legs are covered in hair.
When the wings are opened, they appear to be brown mixed with light patches near the edges. When the wings are closed, the colors and patterns remain.
Average wingspan: Not recorded
Flight Pattern: Erratic
Season: April to July
Females lay eggs close to the host plants after mating.
|Distribution||southeastern United States|
|Lifespan of Adults||2-3 months|
|Host Plants||Primarily oak; other deciduous trees|
|Adult Diet||Does not feed|
Did You Know
- The southern tussock moth was first described by American entomologist William Barnes and Canadian entomologist James Halliday McDunnough in 1913.