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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.

Southern Tussock Moth

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Scientific Classification


  • Family: Erebidae
  • Genus: Dasychira
  • Scientific Name: Dasychira meridionalis

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.

Southern Tussock Moth Caterpillar

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Pupa

After fully maturing, the caterpillar begins to pupate.

Adult Moth

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

Dasychira meridionalis

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Egg

Females lay eggs close to the host plants after mating.

Quick Facts

Distributionsoutheastern United States
HabitatDeciduous woodlands
Lifespan of Adults2-3 months
Host PlantsPrimarily oak; other deciduous trees
Adult DietDoes 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.
Southern Tussock Moth Picture

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Southern Tussock Moth Image

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