Alice Springs Desert Park

ASDP Butterflies & MothsBanksia Moth – Caterpillar Caper White Butterfly Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus ssp sthenelus) Day Flying Moth / Mistletoe Moth Heliotrope Moth (Utetheisa pulchelloides) Noctuinae (Caterpillar) Processionary Caterpillar

The Processionary Caterpillar (Ochrogaster lunifer), is also commonly known as the Itchy Grub and is best avoided, as their hairs can cause particular allergic reactions.

A fact of nature
At certain times of the year, visitors to the Alice Springs Desert Park may notice the processionary caterpillars. These caterpillars travel in long lines from head to tail, that contain up to several hundred individuals. They follow a silk trail left by the lead caterpillar and their large silky shelters can be seen hanging in mulga trees. The adult moth is commonly referred to as the bag-shelter moth (Ochrogaster lunifer), living only a few days, just long enough to breed and lay its eggs.

Images © Ausemade PL

More information can be found:


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Class: Insecta
  • Informal: Pterygotes
  • Order: Lepidoptera
  • Family: Notodontidae
  • Subfamily: Thaumetopoeinae
  • Genus: Ochrogaster
  • Species: Ochrogaster lunifer

Footnote & References

  1. Itchy caterpillars, Bag shelter moth, Northern Territory Government of Australia, https://nt.gov.au/wellbeing/emergencies-injuries-and-accidents/bites-and-stings/itchy-caterpillars/bag-shelter-moth

ASDP Butterflies & MothsBanksia Moth – Caterpillar Caper White Butterfly Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus ssp sthenelus) Day Flying Moth / Mistletoe Moth Heliotrope Moth (Utetheisa pulchelloides) Noctuinae (Caterpillar) Processionary Caterpillar

ASDP InsectsASDP Insects Index ASDP Ants ASDP Camponotus denticulatus ASDP Opisthopsis sp ASDP Bees Amegilla chlorocyanea Bee Braunsapis sp Exoneurella eremophila Bee Lasioglossum (Chilalictus) Lasioglossum (Chilalictus) Mating Lasioglossum (Homalictus) ASDP Beetles Bush Cockroach (Ellipsidion humarale) Snout Beetle (Lixus) Transverse Ladybird ASDP Butterflies & Moths Banksia Moth – Caterpillar Caper White Butterfly Chequered Swallowtail (Papilio demoleus ssp sthenelus) Day Flying Moth / Mistletoe Moth Heliotrope Moth (Utetheisa pulchelloides) Noctuinae (Caterpillar) Processionary Caterpillar ASDP Diptera Bee Fly (Australiphthiria sp) Bee Fly (Ligyra cingulata) ASDP Hemiptera / Heteroptera Crusader Bug (Mictis profana) Ground Shield Bug ASDP Orthoptera ASDP Katydid (Taeniomenae) ASDP Wasps Potter Wasp Torymus Chalcid Wasp ASDP Tropidoderus gracilifemur

ASDP FaunaASDP Arachnida ASDP Birds ASDP Insects ASDP Mammals ASDP Marsupials ASDP Reptiles Monotreme – Short-beaked Echidna

Alice Springs Desert ParkFauna Flora Nature Theatre Nocturnal House