Case moth cases are made from silk and a variety of plant material

What is this strange creature?

Why, it is the humble old Case Moth hanging around our tropical apple tree.

These amazing creatures actually spend most of their lives as caterpillars, this can be anywhere from 1 to 2 years! That’s a fairly long time to haul around these amazing constructions.

These cases are made from silk and a variety of plant material, each one can be distinctively different from one another’s even within the same species.

Case moth cases are made from silk and a variety of plant material
Case moth cases are made from silk and a variety of plant material

There are two holes in the case, one where the head protudes out and the other at the back where the droppings can be expelled.

Once the caterpillar has eaten its fair share of plant material and/or lichen it will anchor its case to something and close off the head hole, it then weaves its own special cocoon within the case and pupates, all this facing the other direction within the case.

Depending on species and the sex of the moth that emerges from the case it can have a full set of wings or partial set of wings or virtually none at all.

Some of the more well known species are; Saunder’s Case Moth, Firewood Case Moth, Leaf Case Moth and Ribbed Case Moth and if you’ve ever read the popular Australian children’s stories by May Gibbs ‘Snugglepot & Cuddlepie” you will have seen some illustrations within her books named ‘Secondhand Houses’.

Case moth.
Case moth.
Well camouflaged case moth!
Well camouflaged case moth!

Personally I just love finding these amazing creatures in our backyard and like to keep ones that have long been abandoned after pupating has occurred, a bit like finding old birds nests. There is just something so special about the detail and care that has gone into creating something so intricate but purposeful.

For detailed information check out the Queensland Museum website 

Or download:
Queensland Museum’s Case Moth Factsheet (pdf 275KB)

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