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moth Brown-tail Moths

Identify It >   Moth Section >   Brown-tail Moths >

Scientific name:  Euproctis chrysorrhoea

Size:  Wingspan up to 42mm

Distribution:  Found in most parts of England, especially southern and central areas.  A few sightings in Wales and the southern Scottish border

Months seen:  July and August (readily attracted to light)

Life span:  The adult moths live for just 3 or 4 weeks

Habitat:  Coastal areas, parks and woodlands

Food:  Caterpillars feed on bramble, blackthorn and other deciduous trees

Special features:  Brown-tail moths are completely white, with the exception of the abdomen which is brown (hence the name).  The tip of the abdomen is like a brush.

Brown-tail caterpillars are covered in barbed hairs which can cause prolonged skin irritation, so it's best to avoid handling them, or their cocoons.  The caterpillars overwinter in a silk tent for protection.

The caterpillars are sometimes confused with those of the Knot Grass Moth (Acronicta rumicis).  

When the female moths emerge from their cocoons they collect some hairs from the case with the tips of their abdomens.  These hairs are brushed onto their eggs to give them some protection.


2007 - Spurn Point, East Riding of Yorkshire - Dick Roberts
2010 - Exmouth, Devon - Beryl Ladd
2011 - Hampshire - Deryn Hawkins
2013 - N. Wales - Selwyn Lloyd-Jones
2014 - Monkton N.R., Ramsgate, Kent - Anne Roberts

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