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Moth: Bag worm

Find, identify & discuss the insects of SANParks
Nannie
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Re: Insect ID needed

Unread postby Nannie » Fri Jan 09, 2009 3:21 pm

Hi,can someone help ,i have this as Bagworm,it's about 45mm long and in this case the bag is made from tiny pebbles.Have seen 2 others which differ in that they were made from tiny pieces of bark.
This one has a flexible front section which allows it to close off the entrance and for greater movement.I found this one in my pool here at MP.
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CuriousCanadian
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Re: Insect ID needed

Unread postby CuriousCanadian » Mon Jan 19, 2009 5:41 pm

caddis fly?
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Re: Insect ID needed

Unread postby Nannie » Tue Jan 27, 2009 11:09 am

caddis fly?

CC the fact that i found this in my pool could be misleading. Two days after i found this one i found another, also close to the pool. I am sure the first one fell in by accident as it was floating. That they live on the ground and not in water i am fairly certain of.
Here are photos of the other two "bagworms". They both use bark to construct their "bags". The one is rather loosely woven and was about 50mm long. The worm moves up and down it's "bag" and it's open at one end. It extends it's head and front section out of the opening to walk, dragging the "bag" behind it.
The other one's "bag" is much more rigid and solid looking, also made from bark. It is about 20mm long and i found it on a marula tree.
The three worms all differ in colour.

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Last edited by Nannie on Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Insect ID needed

Unread postby Rusty Justy » Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:12 pm

Great shots of the Bag Worms Nannie :thumbs_up:
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Susanb
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What the heck is this thing?

Unread postby Susanb » Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:33 pm

Does anyone know what this is? Its about 30mm in length, made from tiny pieces of wood. Held together with silk or something. I know its a cacoon of some kind, but any idea who it belongs to?
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Re: What the heck is this thing?

Unread postby ecojunkie » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:42 pm

It's called a bagworm. No time to give more information now, but will post again tomorrow if nobody beats me to it! Basically the female of a type of moth....
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Re: What the heck is this thing?

Unread postby oddesy » Fri Jul 23, 2010 7:04 pm

Very nice! never seen one in the field :thumbs_up: :thumbs_up: :mrgreen:

The females of bagworms (Family Psychidae) are wingless, eyeless and legless as well as lack antennae . They also remain in their laral cases. Over 134 species are found in SA :shock: A few species are even parteneogenetic which means males are not required for mating and offspring are virtually clones of the parent. The males generally have a very short lifespan and lack mouthparts so their sole purpose is to search for females which they do mostly at night.
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Re: What the heck is this thing?

Unread postby Elzet » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:14 pm

oddesy wrote:... their sole purpose is to search for females which they do mostly at night.


Sounds if they share the same qualities as that of human males. :twisted: :lol:
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Re: What the heck is this thing?

Unread postby oddesy » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:16 am

:lol: :lol:
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Re: What the heck is this thing?

Unread postby Meandering Mouse » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:47 am

:funny:
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Re: What the heck is this thing?

Unread postby Susanb » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:59 am

Awesome guys. Thanks so much. Does anyone have a photo of an adult?

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Moth: Bag worm

Unread postby RonnieL » Fri Dec 03, 2010 1:05 pm

Hi Guys,

I need some more help,

I took this pic in the Van Stadens Flower Reserve now recently just outside of Port Elizabeth and thought that it would be OK if I post it here asking for help.

There is an insect living inside of that structure on top of the flower that comes out partly and can then crawl around dragging that structure with it. What you can see there is a camouflaged "door" that has been pulled closed. I remember years ago as a kid I found one of these crawling around so inquisitive me opened it up to see what was inside and I found a "worm-like" insect inside with that structure being held together with a web-like material.

I am wanting to know what this is and am I correct in assuming that this "log house" has been built from grass that has been "cut" to the same length by the parent of this "worm" and has laid its egg inside and possibly even placed some food inside for when the egg hatches.

Thanking you :thumbs_up:
Ronnie

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Re: Insect ID needed

Unread postby Jon Richfield » Sat Dec 11, 2010 10:36 am

RonnieL wrote:I am wanting to know what this is

Nice pictures.

What you have there is one of our many South African species of "bagworm". It is in fact not a worm, which is no surprise when you see how many creatures are called worms. They can't all be worms after all. :)

There are many species of insects that make such bags, including the so-called "caddis flies", but the young of caddis flies live underwater. Clothes moths and their relatives make similar bags, but they are in another family and do not cover their bags with sticks. What you have there is the larva of a moth in the family Psychidae, the bagworms. Some of them are pests, such as the wattle bagworm, but most, such as the one that you show, are practically harmless and very interesting, not to say engaging, members of our wild communities.

As soon as possible after leaving the egg, the young bagworm caterpillar, or larva, which still is tiny, far too tiny to drag a big bag like the one that you have illustrated, spins some silk and fastens together bits of plant material to make its first bag. Different species of bagworm make bags of different designs. I have seen several that make bags looking like yours, but I don't know the species. Over 100 species are known from South Africa. As it grows, feeds, and changes its skin, the larva enlarges its case as necessary. I think the one that you have illustrated must be nearly fully grown.

Some species are parthenogenic, laying eggs without any males, and I have no idea whether yours is one such. I do not think it is likely, because most species do have males.

When it is fully grown, the larva shuts up shop, sheds its skin yet again, and becomes a pupa. So far, so standard, but after that the pattern changes, depending on the gender of the larva. Male moths are generally rather shabby looking, ordinary moths. Like some moths and unlike others, they do not waste time on feeding, in fact they cannot feed; they have just a day or two in which to find a female and mate. They do that at most once. Then they die.

The female is a totally different bag, and hardly more than that, unkind though it sounds; she has no wings to speak of, and not much in the way of legs, only enough to turn one way for mating, and afterwards the other way for laying her eggs inside her bag. Then she dies too. I seem to have heard something similarly funereal somewhere else; where might that have been? Romeo and Juliet, perhaps?

The more cheerful aspect is that before she dies, she lays a couple of hundred eggs. When the young hatch, they start the whole cycle all over again.

Laying so many eggs, and staying out of trouble in those bags, you might expect that the bagworms would have taken over the planet by now, but actually in spite of their best efforts, most bagworms never survive to mate. The wattle bagworm is the only one that I can think of offhand that is successful enough to be a serious pest. They have various enemies, parasitoid wasps and flies, bacteria and fungi and viruses, and possibly even the occasional shrew or bird that has cracked their camouflage and their shelter. Also, what with the female laying all her eggs in one bag, and not doing her bit to seek out a male, and with males not generally living more than a day or two, mating is a chancy business. Probably that is one of the reasons why some of the successful species are in fact parthenogenic.

I hope that answers most of your questions; you are welcome to ask for elaboration, or for that matter to argue if you don't believe blind word of it! :wink:

Cheers,

Jon

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Re: What the heck is this thing?

Unread postby Leopard75 » Tue Jan 04, 2011 3:09 pm

Meandering Mouse wrote::funny:

Had a good laugh now, Nice one Elzet! I guess it's true. :-P

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