“On separate occasions, Maryann Vitudio and Amber Lau brought me caterpillars of the Tussock moth (F: Lymantriidae) to observe. These are rather common. The problem was that the food plants False Heather (Cuphea hyssopifolia) and an unknown were in short supply. As an alternative I fed the caterpillars with Nam Nam (Cynometra cauliflora) leaves that were acceptable to a certain extent.
“These caterpillars are somewhat colourful with characteristic tufts of hair that is reputed to cause irritations when handled (top). As the caterpillars I received were relatively large, they were invariably at the final instar stage. And as with most pre-pupa caterpillars, they continuously moved around, thus needing to be confined (above, below).
“After some time, the caterpillar laid a mat of silk on the leaves (below),
…gathering a few together to form a cocoon of discarded hairs within (below).
“The adult moth is generally dull brown or white. They survive for a few days, mating and laying eggs but do not feed. Unfortunate I lost my pupating specimen and am unable to show an image of the moth.”
18th February 2016