Lichen moth Click to enlarge image
Lichen moth (Arctiidae: Lithosiinae). Lithosiinae Termessa shepherdi female Image: David Britton
© Australian Museum

Fast Facts

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

Introduction

T. shepherdi is the largest species in the genus, and one of the most variable.

Identification

Most specimens have white markings on the fore wing between the medial fascia and the base of the wing, and yellow markings behind the dark wing tip marking. They can be separated from the similar T. xanthomelas by having a complete black marking at the base of the forewing. Individuals of T. shepherdi with extensive dark markings on the forewing also resemble T. catocalina, but will always have yellow or white markings on the thorax.

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.

Habitat

Montane forests

Distribution

Moonbi Range (NSW) south to Victoria

Seasonality

October to November

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.