Different Types of Moths

There are many different types of moths in Australia.

Like other Australian insects, they grow fairly large in our warm climate.

Ruby Tiger Moth Showing Underwing, Hertforshire, England, UK
Tiger moth. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

Tiger Moths
There are over 300 species of tiger months in Australia. They are known for extensive methods of defence including ultrasound and producing some natsy chemicals including poison. 

Examples of Australian tiger moths include Chamaita barnardi, Amerila alberti, Creatonotos gangis, Teulisna bipunctata, Nyctemera baulus, Oeonistis altica, Asura polyspila, Schistophleps obducta, Microstola ammoscia, Argina repleta, Spilosoma curvata, Manulea dorsalis, Lyclene pyraula, Schistophleps albida, Heterallactis stenochrysa and Amerila nigropunctata.

Hawk Moths
Hawk Moths are very beautiful in both shapes and colours, and there are 65 species in Australia. They are large, strong fliers, have airplane-looking bodies, and are mostly found in the tropics of northern Australia. Examples include Privet Hawk Moth (Psilogramma menephron), Bee Hawk Moth (Cephonodes kingii), Pale Brown Hawk Moth (T. latreilla), and Impatiens Hawk Moth (Theretra oldenlandiae).

Oleander hawk moth sitting on a branch
Hawk moth. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

Hercules Moths
Hercules moths are the largest ones in Australia. There is only one species - Coscinocera hercules, it has a 27cm wingspan, and it is only found in the northern tropical rainforests of north Queensland, as well as Papua New Guinea.

Gum Moths
Gum moths are also large, the most famous one is the Emperor Gum Moth  Opodiphthera eucalypti. Another common one is White Stemmed Gum Moth Chelepteryx collesi.

A Banded Tussock Moth Caterpillar, Halysidota Tessellaris, on a Leaf
Tussock moth larvae. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

Goat Moths
Goat moths are large, heavy and there are 200 species in Australia. Their larvae are the original witchetty grubs, which used to be an important bush tucker for Aboriginal people. An example is Wood Moth Endoxyla mackeri.

Cup Moths
There are 115 species of cup moths in Australia, and they are mostly known for their strikingly spectacular and colourful caterpillars. Australian cup moths include Mottled Cup Moth Doratifera vulnerans, Four Spotted Cup Moth Doratifera quadriguttata, and Painted Cup Moth Doratifera oxleyi.

Plume Moths
Plume moths are very small and delicate. There are 40 species in Australia, the examples include Geranium Plume Moth Sphenarches anisodactylus, Horehound Plume Moth Wheelaria spilodactylus, and Starfruit Flower Moth Diacrotricha fasciola.

A Looper Moth Resting on a Fern Leaf
Looper. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy

Loopers is the types of moths with broad wings and often good camouflage. Their name comes from their caterpillars, which only have legs in the front and rare, so their body looks like a loop when they move. Examples include Alloeopage cinerea, Comostola chloragyra, Anisozyga pieroides, Aeolochroma turneri, Pingasa chlora and Problepsis apollinaria.

Case Moths and Bag Moths
Case Moths and Bag Moths are the types of moths whose caterpillars live in mobile cages made of silk. Examples include Tower Case Moth Lepidoscia arctiella, Faggot Case Moth Clania ignobilis, Stick Case Moth Clania lewinii, Saunders' Case Moth Metura elongatus, Smooth Case Moth Oiketicus herrichii, Ribbed Case Moth Hyalarcta nigrescens, Leaf Case Moth Hyalarcta huebneri.

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