Moths in Australia

Moths far outnumber butterflies both in numbers and species

In Australia, there are over 10,000 named species of moths compared with only about 400 species of butterflies

It is estimated that another 10,000 species moths have yet to be studied and named, whereas very few butterfly species remain to be discovered.

  • Wood Moth

    Wood Moth
    (Endoxyla cinera)


    • The caterpillars of wood moths feed on plant roots, but the adults do not feed during their short life span
    • Females lay about 20,000 tiny eggs before dying
    • The moths are grey in colour with a dark blotch on their thorax
    • When resting, their narrow wings fold along the side of their body, this camouflages them perfectly as they cling to the grey trunk of a gum tree during the day
    • Moths appear for only a brief time in mid- summer and are sometimes noticed at street lights on drizzly nights
  • Brown House Moth

    Brown House Moth
    (Lepidoptera oecophoridae)


    • Adults are bronze-brown with darker flecks in the forewings
    • Adults range in size from 8 to 14mm long, with a wing span of 17 to 25mm
    • Adult males are smaller than females
    • The larvae are white with a brown head capsule, reaching a length of 18 to 20mm when mature
    • Commodities affected is carpet, cork, cereal products, meals, pulses, sees, dried fruit, dried plants, fur, wool, feathers, leather, book bindings and paper
    • Signs of infestation would be grain connected by silken material and silk and frass (excrement) are present
    • Their damage is not distinctive
  • Clothes Moth

    Clothes Moth
    (Tineola bisselliella)


    • The adult is gold with reddish-golden hairs on the top of its head
    • Are weak flyers and are not attracted to lights
    • Can be found close to the infested items, such as in a dark area of the closet
    • Notorious for feeding on clothing and natural fibres, they have the ability to digest keratin
    • Prefer dirty fabric for oviposition and are particularly attracted to carpeting and clothing that contains human sweat or other liquids that have been spilled onto them
  • Tiger Moth

    Tiger Moth
    (Arctiidae Lepidoptera)


    • Dark wings with red or orange spots and white stripes, sometimes displayed in striking geometric patterns
    • When at rest the wings are folded rood like over the body
    • Emerges in spring and attains a wingspan of 37 to 50mm
    • black spots mark its abdomen and yellow wings
    • The bright warning colouration displayed by some arctiids is associated with distatefulness, thus protecting the moths from predation