Bombycomorpha bifascia

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Bombycomorpha bifascia
Bombycomorpha bifascia 00.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Lasiocampidae
Genus: Bombycomorpha
Species: B. bifascia
Binomial name
Bombycomorpha bifascia
Walker, 1855
Synonyms
  • Bombycomorpha pallida Distant, 1897

Bombycomorpha bifascia, the pepper-tree caterpillar, is a moth of the Lasiocampidae family, occurring in Southern Africa.

The 40mm long larvae feed on the foliage of Rhus dentata, the pepper-tree Schinus molle and other Anacardiaceae, showing a preference for the foliage of the introduced pepper-Tree. The body of the larva is black with two narrow yellow lines (bifascia) running down each flank. A coating of orange hairs gives it a yellowish appearance. The larvae are highly gregarious and feed in small groups, with a tendency to become cannibalistic when food is depleted. Moulting four times they attain full size in 50–60 days, at which point they descend to ground level and search for a suitable pupating spot. The cocoons are about 20mm long and chocolate-brown in colour. After some 14 days the moth emerges. If the season is unfavourable the larvae hibernate until the following Spring.

Etymology[edit]

The species name, Bombycomorpha refers to the resemblance to the silkworm moths of the Bombyx genus.

Life stages[edit]

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