Moths of North Dakota


Family Lymantriidae: Tussock moths

Diagnosis: Pectinate antennae with a long divergent seta apically on each ramus; ocelli and proboscis absent; f/hw venation quadrifid; meta-thorax with tympanum.

Diversity: Worldwide 360 genera and 2,500 species; North America has 6 genera and 31 species; four species (three resident) have been found in the Dakotas.

Checklist numbers: 8290- 8321.

Biology: Larvae are arboreal foliage feeders possessing both hair pencils (tussocks) and dorsal eversible glands on abdominal segment six. Some species populations are cyclic, building up tremendous numbers and defoliating large tracts of woodland. Females of many species are flightless; the wings may be fully developed or vestigial. In the latter case, females oviposit on the outside of their cocoon. Many economically important species: Brown-tail moth, Satin moth, Gypsy moth, Douglas-fir tussock moth.


moth image

Further reading:

Ferguson, Douglas C. 1978. Fascicle 22.2 Noctuoidea Lymantriidae in Dominick et al. The moths of America north of Mexico. E. W. Classey Ltd. London. 110 pp.

Forbes, William T. M. Family 47. Lymantriidae, pp. 237- 246 in, Ibid. 1923. Lepidoptera of New York and neighboring states. Part II. Geometridae, Notodontidae, Sphingidae, Lymantriidae. Cornell Agric. Exp. Sta. Mem. 274: 263 pp.

Kitching, Ian J. and John E. Rawlins. Chapter 19 The Noctuoidea, pp. 355- 401 in Kristensen, Neils P. ed. 1999. Lepidoptera, moths and butterflies. Part 35, Vol. 1 in Handbook of Zoology. Maximilian Fischer ed. Walter de Gryter, New York. 491 pp.

Scoble, Malcom J. 1992. The Higher Ditrysia, Chapter 12, pp. 290- 341 in The Lepidoptera: form, function, and diversity. Oxford Univ. press. 1982. 404 pp.



Last updated: 03/27/02

Gerald M. Fauske
Research Specialist
202 Hultz Hall
Fargo, ND 58105

Published by the Department of Entomology 

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