Pale Tussock Lymantriidae

Calliteara pudibunda (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: Wingspan 50-70mm. A large, rather hairy-looking moth. Adults are usually pale greyish-white, although some individuals are darker. The male forewings have a darker central area bounded with darker, wavy crosslines. Females have paler forewings marked with three distinct, wavy crosslines. There are a series of dots along the outer margin of the forewings in both sexes. The hindwings are pale grey in males, and near white in females.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Late May to the end of June.

Status: A scarce, local species with a southern distribution in N. Ireland. Virtually unknown before the late 1990s in N. Ireland. There have been recent records from well-trapped localities including Murlough NNR, Rostrevor NNR and Castlewellan in south-east Down and Rehaghy, Crom Estate, Monmurray and Carnmore in Tyrone and Fermanagh in the west. It is widespread in southern Ireland and the recent occurrences in N. Ireland suggest that this species is expanding its range northwards.

Ecology: Found mainly in the damper parts of woodland. Adults are attracted to light in small numbers, especially males, which are more frequently encountered than females. The larvae can be found from July until September on birch Betula spp., oak Quercus spp., Hazel Corylus avellana and possibly other trees. It overwinters as a pupa.

World Distribution: Across northern and central Europe east to Asia and Japan.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2028 Agassiz number: 72.015

Additional information:

UK Moths account


 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland