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Subfamily Lymantriinae - Tussock Moths

Gypsy Moth caterpillar - Lymantria dispar Tussock with cocoons - Dasychira tephra White-marked tussock moth caterpillar? - Orgyia leucostigma Lepidoptera. Chrysalid. - Lymantria dispar caterpillar - Lymantria dispar Douglas Fir Tussock Moth - Orgyia pseudotsugata - male Early instar Orgyia caterpillar - Orgyia Dasychira manto
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea (Owlet Moths and kin)
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Lymantriinae (Tussock Moths)
Other Common Names
vaporers, vaporer moths (see below)
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Formerly its own family, Lymantriidae; reduced to a subfamily of Erebidae in Lafontaine & Schmidt 2010 (1)
Explanation of Names
Author: Hampson, [1893]

Lymantriinae is from Lymantria Huebner, the genus of the Old World (and introduced to North America) Gypsy Moth, Lymantria dispar. The origin of this name is not obvious. Perhaps from Greek lyma meaning destruction or filth (2). There is also a Greek word liman, meaning estuary, or referring to a particular European estuary, that of the Dnieper (Oxford English Dictionary).

"Tussock moths" for the tufts of hair on the caterpillars. (tussock = a tuft or clump of green grass or similar verdure, forming a small hillock--Wiktionary.) Another name used for the adult moths (esp. Orgyia)is, or was, "vaporers" or "vaporer moths" for the "vaporing" flight pattern (3).
3 tribes, 6 genera, 32 species:
Euproctis Hübner, 1819
Euproctis chrysorrhoea (Linnaeus, 1758)
Euproctis similis (Fuessly, 1775)
Leucoma Hübner, 1822
Leucoma salicis (Linnaeus, 1758)
Lymantria Hübner, 1819
Lymantria dispar (Linnaeus, 1758)
Dasychira Hübner, 1809
Dasychira atrivenosa (Palm, 1873)
Dasychira basiflava (Packard, 1864)
Dasychira cinnamomea (Grote & Robinson, 1866)
Dasychira dominickaria Ferguson, 1977
Dasychira dorsipennata (Barnes & McDunnough, 1919)
Dasychira grisefacta (Dyar, 1911)
Dasychira leucophaea (J.E. Smith, 1797)
Dasychira manto (Strecker, 1900)
Dasychira matheri Ferguson, 1977
Dasychira meridionalis (Barnes & McDunnough, 1913)
Dasychira mescalera Ferguson, 1977
Dasychira obliquata (Grote & Robinson, 1866)
Dasychira pinicola (Dyar, 1911)
Dasychira plagiata (Walker, 1865)
Dasychira tephra Hübner, 1809
Dasychira vagans (Barnes & McDunnough, 1913)
Gynaephora Hübner, 1819
Gynaephora groenlandica (Wocke, 1874)
Gynaephora rossii (Curtis, 1835)
Orgyia Ochsenheimer, 1810
Orgyia antiqua (Linnaeus, 1758)
Orgyia cana Hy. Edwards, 1881
Orgyia definita Packard, 1864
Orgyia detrita Guérin, 1831
Orgyia falcata Schaus, 1896
Orgyia leucostigma (J.E. Smith, 1797)
Orgyia leuschneri Riotte, 1972
Orgyia magna Ferguson, 1977
Orgyia pseudotsugata (McDunnough, 1921)
Orgyia vetusta Boisduval, 1852
Wingspan 1.5-6.7 cm.
Medium sized. Females usually larger than males. Wings mostly brownish to grayish or white. Wings reduced to nubs or well developed in females of some species. Ocelli absent. Antennae bipectinate.
Larvae generally very hairy, usually with two anterior and two or three posterior long hair tufts.
Some of the information on this page was transferred from the old Lymantriidae page, with
contributions from
Troy Bartlett
John and Jane Balaban
Beatriz Moisset
Robin McLeod.
Print References
Lafontaine J. D., and B. C. Schmidt 2010. Annotated check list of the Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of North America North of Mexico. (1)
Borror, entry for lyma (2)
The Century Dictionary, entry for Orgyia (3)
Covell (4)
Internet References
pinned adult image thumbnails of species in eastern Canada (CBIF)
pinned adult image thumbnails of species in western Canada (CBIF)
Works Cited
1.Annotated check list of the Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of North America north of Mexico.
Donald J. Lafontaine, B. Christian Schmidt. 2010. ZooKeys 40: 1–239 .
2.Dictionary of Word Roots and Combining Forms
Donald J. Borror. 1960. Mayfield Publishing Company.
3.The Century Dictionary: an encyclopedic lexicon of the English language
4.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.