Bio-Control – Saunders’ Case Moth Caterpillar (Metura Elongatus)

Often, we find unwanted insects in our tunnel houses like scale and aphids, but the most interesting creature we discovered recently is the Saunders’ Case Moth Caterpillar.

The caterpillar builds a mobile bag covered with silk, leaves and short twigs.  When threatened, they retreat, sealing the front of the opening of the bag until it is safe to emerge.

The bag has two openings, the top to pop its armoured head out to crawl around and feed and the bottom to mate and to excrete waste. As the caterpillar grows, it adds sticks attached with silk to extend the length of the bag.

When the caterpillar rests, it attaches its mobile bag to a stick and secures it with silk to hang vertically.

Male moths have a wingspan between 4 to 5 cm, while the females remain wingless and soon dies after laying its eggs.

Yvonne Hennell  Bio-control Manager


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