Bombycomorpha bifascia

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Bombycomorpha bifascia
Bombycomorpha bifascia 00.jpg
Scientific classification
B. bifascia
Binomial name
Bombycomorpha bifascia
Walker, 1855
  • Bombycomorpha pallida Distant, 1897

Bombycomorpha bifascia, the pepper-tree caterpillar, is a moth of the family Lasiocampidae, 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, their surface texture and colour resembling that of dried mud. After some 14 days the moth emerges. If weather conditions are unfavourable the larvae hibernate until the following Spring.


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

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