Yellow Tussock Moth (Calliteara horsfieldii)

on 31st March 2016

Yellow Tussock (Calliteara horsfieldii) 1

Amber Lau brought a Yellow Tussock Moth caterpillar (Calliteara horsfieldii, Lymantriidae, Erebidae) that was fed with Nam Nam (Cynometra cauliflora) leaves (above, below).

Yellow Tussock (Calliteara horsfieldii) 2

The video clip below shows the caterpillar exposing its velvety black inter-segmental membrane even when mildly provoked (Leong & D’Rozario, 2009).

The caterpillar moves about rapidly and aimlessly just before it forms a cocoon. Seen with it are the more common brown tussock moth caterpillar.

Yellow Tussock (Calliteara horsfieldii) - cocoon 3

On 16th February 2016 it was seen spinning silk on the leaves. Two leaves provided cover for the cocoon made up of its many yellow hairs (above).

Yellow Tussock (Calliteara horsfieldii) - cocoon 4

Within two days the caterpillar inside the cocoon turned into a pupa with the excess hairs added to the cocoon. The discarded skin of the caterpillar can be seen above the cocoon (above).

Yellow Tussock (Calliteara horsfieldii) - adult 5

Ten days later eclosure occurred in the early morning and the adult moth remained clinging to the outside of the cocoon during the entire day (above) before flying off (below).

Yellow Tussock (Calliteara horsfieldii) - adult 6

According to Robinson et al. (2001), this caterpillar feeds on 29 families of plants that include more than 50 species.

YC Wee & Amber Lau
25th February 216

Leong, T.M. & V. D’Rozario (2009). Final instar caterpillar and metamorphosis of Calliteara horsfieldii (Saunders) in Singapore (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae: Orgyiini). Nature in Singapore, 2:443-447. (PDF)
2. Robinson, G.S., Ackery, P. R., Kitching, I. J., Beccaloni, G. W. & Hernandez, L. M. (2001). Hostplants of the moth and butterfly caterpillars of the Oriental Region. Natural History Museum, London and Southdene Sdn. Bhd., Kuala Lumpur. 744 pp.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

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