Lichen moth Click to enlarge image
Lichen moth (Arctiidae: Lithosiinae) Termessa laeta, female Location:NSW: Mt Kaputar Nat. Park 1183m 3 Dec 1974 I.F.B. Common & E.D. Edwards Image: David Britton
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    laeta
    Genus
    Termessa
    Subfamily
    Lithosiinae
    Family
    Arctiidae
    Super Family
    Noctuoidea
    Order
    Lepidoptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Phylum
    Arthropoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Life history mode
    terrestrial, volant

Introduction

T. laeta is the only Termessa species which also occurs in Western Australia.

Identification

The broad black fascia in the fore wings do not touch each other, and do not have any pale yellow or white markings in their interior (cf. T. gratiosa and others). The males of T. laeta have paler ground colour in the fore wing compared to the hind wing, and both sexes have black scales on the anterior dorsal edge of the thorax (cf. T. congrua).

DISCLAIMER: The identifications presented on these pages should be taken as indicative only. As with many groups of Australian insects there has been no formal revision of the Lithosiinae in recent years, and there are many undescribed species present in collections. Many species are superficially similar, and require a specialist to separate them.

Distribution

T. laeta has a broad distribution, and is found throughout coastal SE Australia (as far inland as Mt Kaputar in NSW) north to the Atherton Tablelands including SW Western Australia. It is the only Termessa to occur in WA.

Seasonality

October to December

Feeding and diet

Larvae probably feed on lichens

Further reading

The majority of images of Lithosiinae presented on these pages were taken from specimens housed in the Australian National Insect Collection (ANIC) (CSIRO, Canberra). I would like to thank the staff and researchers at ANIC for their generous assistance in providing me access to this collection, and I acknowledge the depth of effort and the investment of staff time that has gone into building and curating this splendid resource. In particular, I would like to thank Ted Edwards and Marianne Horak for their assistance.