Western Tussock Moth
( Orgyia vetusta )


2012-0603-SP111001-LEP00615-Orgyia_vetusta[1532h32s,F,L,crawling]{SPeden}-G.jpg

PHOTO COMMENT

IDENTIFICATION
Identification:Orgyia vetusta
(Boisduval, 1852)
Common Name:Western Tussock Moth
Life Stage:(L) larva

PHYLOGENY

Phylum:Arthropoda
Class:Insecta
Superorder:Holometabola
Order:Lepidoptera
Family:Lymantriidae
Tribe:Orgyiini
Genus:Orgyia
Taxon Code:LEP00615
ITIS TSN#:939676

LOCATION DETAILS
Location
Henry Cowell Redwoods SP, Henry Cowell Redwoods SP, 101 North Big Trees Park Road, Felton
County:Santa Cruz County
ECI Site#:CASP111001
Park/Forest:Henry Cowell Redwoods SP

RECOGNITION
The full-grown western tussock moth larva is 1.5 to 2 inches in length, generally gray in color with numerous colored spots, four prominent white tufts of hair on its body, and two black tufts on its head and one on its posterior end. The adult female moth is wingless and light silver-gray. Males are winged and also gray in color.
Wingspan
Male: Up to 25 mm; Female: wingless.
Body Length
Larva: 36-50 mm.

BIOLOGY
Food
Oak, poplar, willow, deciduous and citrus fruit trees, and walnut.
Development
Larvae appear in spring and become adults in May, June, and July. These adults produce caterpillars that feed for 40 to 60 days before they pupate. There are two generations of tussock moth in southern California, but only one in northern California.
Importance
Western tussock moth caterpillars feed on foliage and young fruit, devouring large portions of leaves or entire leaves, and making irregular holes in the fruit.

HABITAT

CREDITS
Photographer
Scott Peden

REFERENCES
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System TSN#939676
  • Western Forest Insects. R.L. Furniss and V.M. Carolin. USDA. 1977.


.