Meet the Case Moth

I got another question in my e-mail box to identify an insect. This time from Martina Stoecker located in Western Cape, South Africa. This is it:


Case moth larva from South Africa – Picture by Martina Stoecker

After some research it turns out to be a Case Moth larva. And these bugs turn out to be pretty interesting! They live inside a case made of sand, plant material and debris that they gather themselves. They use silk and the materials to make a bag where they hide in. The bag or case protects them and helps them to hide from predators. Because case moth larvae have to make use of the materials they find to make their casing, they can look very differently. The one on the picture has gathered quite a few small sticks to make a casing with horizontal lines. Very fashionable! Especially with the sandy collar area.

Other common names for case moths are bagworms. They belong to the family Psychidae. There are around 1400 species of bagworms and they occur all over the world. Only the larvae wear the distinctive bag, after pupation inside the bag a small moth emerges. The colors, size and host plant differs greatly between the species.

The picture is made with: Pentax K200D, macro lens Cosina 100mm, F13, 1/25sec., ISO500 by Martina Stoecker.