name = Lymantriidae

image_width = 240px
image_caption = Caterpillar of the pale tussock moth, "Calliteara pudibunda" Coin is c.2 cm across.
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Arthropoda
classis = Insecta
ordo = Lepidoptera
subordo = Ditrysia
unranked_familia = Macrolepidoptera
superfamilia = Noctuoidea
familia = Lymantriidae
familia_authority = Hampson, 1893
subfamilia = Lymantriinae
subfamilia_authority =
diversity = About 350 genera,
2,500-2,700+ species
diversity_link = Lepidopteran diversity
subdivision_ranks = Tribes
subdivision =

Lymantriidae or LiparidaeVerify source|date=July 2008 is a family of moths with about 350 known genera and over 2,500 known species found all over the world, in every continent except Antarctica. They are particularly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, India, Southeast Asia and South America; one estimate lists 258 species in Madagascar alone (Schaefer, 1989). Apart from oceanic islands, notable places that do "not" host Lymantriids include New Zealand, the Antilles, and New Caledonia (Schaefer , 1989).


Adult moths of this family do not feed. They usually have muted colours (browns and greys), although some are white, and tend to be very hairy. Some females are flightless, and some have reduced wings. Usually the females have a large tuft at the end of the abdomen. The males, at least, have tympanal organs (Scoble, 1995). They are mostly nocturnal, but Schaefer (1989) lists 20 confirmed diurnal species and 20 more likely diurnal species (based on reduced eye size).

The larvae are also hairy, often with hairs packed in tufts, and in many species the hairs break off very easily and are extremely irritating to the skin (especially members of the genus "Euproctis"; Schaefer, 1989). This highly effective defence serves the moth throughout its life cycle as the hairs are incorporated into the cocoon, from where they are collected and stored by the emerging adult female at the tip of the abdomen and used to camouflage and protect the eggs as they are laid. In others, the eggs are covered by a froth that soon hardens, or are camouflaged by material the female collects and sticks to them (Schaefer, 1989). In the larvae of some species, hairs are gathered in dense tufts along the back and this gives them the common name of tussocks or tussock moths.

"Lymantria" means "defiler", and several species are important defoliators of forest trees, including the gypsy moth "Lymantria dispar", the douglas-fir tussock moth "Orgyia pseudotsugata," and the nun moth "Lymantria monacha". They tend to have broader host plant ranges than most Lepidoptera. Most feed on trees and shrubs, but some are known from vines, herbs, grasses and lichens (Schaefer, 1989).


Unusually, this family is not divided into subfamilies but only into tribes. This owes to the fact that the diversity and phylogeny of tropical lymantriids is not well known (Ferguson 1978, Holloway 2006).

Genera "incertae sedis" - that is, not assigned to a tribe - include:
* "Birnara"
* "Cispia"
* "Locharna"
* "Parapellucens"
* "Parvaroa"
* "Pseudarctia"
* "Sitvia"
* "Tamsita"

Notable species and genera

* Brown-tail, "Euproctis chrysorrhoea"
* Yellow-tail, "Euproctis similis"
* Gypsy moth, "Lymantria dispar"
* Nun Moth, "Lymantria monacha"
* Pale tussock moth, "Calliteara pudibunda"
* Pine tussock moth, "Dasychira plagiata"
* Arctic woollybear moth, "Gynaephora groenlandica"
* Rusty tussock moth or Vapourer, "Orgyia antiqua"
* Western tussock moth, "Orgyia vetusta"
* White-marked tussock moth, "Orgyia leucostigma"
* Douglas-fir tussock moth, "Orgyia pseudostugata"
* Satin moth, "Leucoma salicis"
* Coca moth, "Eloria noyesi"
* Painted apple moth, "Teia anartoides"
* "Rahona"

See also list of lymantriid genera

Literary references

In "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy, the character Pappachi discovers a new species of lymantriid with "unusually dense dorsal tufts". At first, his discovery is misclassified as a race of an existing species. After Pappachi retires from the post of Imperial Entomologist, a taxonomic revision makes his moth the type species of a new genus. Pappachi's original claim is forgotten and the new genus is named for a former subordinate. The disappointment embitters Pappachi:

In the years to come, even though he had been ill-humored long before he discovered the moth, Pappachi's Moth was held responsible for his black moods and sudden bouts of temper. Its pernicious ghost--grey, furry and with unusually dense dorsal tufts--haunted every house that he ever lived in. It tormented him and his children and his children's children.

--Arundhati Roy, "The God of Small Things", pg. 48


* Chinery, Michael (1991): "Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe" (2nd edition).

* Ferguson, D.C. (1978): Noctuoidea, Lymantriidae. "In: The Moths of America North of Mexico" (vol. 22-2). London: E.W. Classey.

* Holloway, J.D. (2006): [ Moths of Borneo The Moths of Borneo, part 5: Family Lymantriidae] . Accessed Aug. 13, 2006.

* Schaefer, Paul (1989): Diversity in form, function, behavior, and ecology, "In:" USDA Forest Service (ed.): "Proceedings, Lymantriidae: a comparison of features of New and Old World tussock moths": 1-19. Broomall, PA

* Scoble, M. J. (1992): "The Lepidoptera: Form, function and diversity" (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.

* Skinner, Bernard (1984): "Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles."

* Schintlmeister, Alexander (2004): "The Taxonomy of the genus Lymantria Hubner, [1819] (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae)."

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Lymantriidae — n. The natural family comprising the tussock moths. Syn: family {Lymantriidae}. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Lymantriidae —   [zu griechisch lymante̅r »der Zerstörende«], die Trägspinner …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Lymantriidae — Lymantriidae …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Lymantriidae —   Lymantriidae Oruga Cal …   Wikipedia Español

  • Lymantriidae — Trägspinner Buchen Streckfuß (Calliteara pudibunda) Systematik Klasse: Insekten (Insecta) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Lymantriidae — noun tussock moths • Syn: ↑family Lymantriidae • Hypernyms: ↑arthropod family • Member Holonyms: ↑Lepidoptera, ↑order Lepidoptera • Member Meronyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • Lymantriidae — …   Википедия

  • lymantriidae — ly·man·tri·idae …   English syllables

  • family Lymantriidae — noun tussock moths • Syn: ↑Lymantriidae • Hypernyms: ↑arthropod family • Member Holonyms: ↑Lepidoptera, ↑order Lepidoptera • Member Meronyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • СЕМ. LYMANTRIIDAE - ВОЛНЯНКИ — …   Насекомые - вредители сельского хозяйства Дальнего Востока

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