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Digital Guide to Moth Identification

990689.0019689Thaumetopoea processionaea Linnaeus, 1758

Todd Gilligan
Distribution: Europe; not found in North America north of Mexico.
Seasonality
and Size:
One generation per year. Adults appear from July to September.
Forewing length ranges 13-16mm
Larva and
Host Plants:
Larvae prefer to feed on Quercus spp. (Oak), however they have been recorded on Betula (Birch), Carpinus (hornbeam), Castanea (chestnut), Corylus (hazel), and Fagus (beech).
Larvae will often be seen in a head-to-tail procession of caterpillars in late spring and early summer. Typically pale or grey laterally and black dorsally. Covered in urticating hairs that are grey.
Description/
Field Marks:
Females with noticeable black scale tuft on tip of abdomen, possibly used to cover eggs for concealment
Similar Species:
  • May be confused with Thaumetopoea pityocampa, although this species has a conspicuous orange-brown abdomen and T. processionaea has a gray to gray-brown abdomen. T. pityocampa is associated with pine trees.
  • Pinned specimens of related species. (Hint: select View by Region on the related species page.)
References
  • (1) Natural History Museum: HOSTS- website
  • (2) European Food Safety Authority: Evaluation of a pest risk analysis on Thaumetopoea processionea [pdf]
  • (3) Groenen, F., and Meurisse, N. 2012. Historical distribution of the oak processionary moth Thaumetopoea processionea in Europe suggests recolonization instead of expansion. Agricultural and Forest Entomology. 14:2
Thaumetopoea processionaea
Christi Jaeger, MEM
Thaumetopoea processionaea
Todd Gilligan

Moth Photographers Group  at the  Mississippi Entomological Museum  at the  Mississippi State University

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