- Subfamily: Arctiinae, Arctiini, Spilosomina
- Wingspan: 36-46 mm
- Flight period: May - Aug
- Spread: Uncommon
- Host plants: Polyphagous
The Spilosoma urticae is a moth of the Erebidae family, subfamily Arctiinae, with a wingspan of 36-46 mm.
Visible throughout Europe, it is absent only from Ireland, in Italy it is present in Sicily but not in Sardinia. *
It is found in the whole temperate belt of the Palearctic region like the Spilosoma lubricipeda even if it seems to have a preference for drier biotypes.
The front wing is white in color, may be unmarked but usually with one or two black dots near the center and sometimes a short row near the apex. The rear wing is also white, almost never marked. It can be confused with Spilosoma lubricipeda which usually has more points, furthermore, the front wing usually has a cream color and the rear wing has at least one central point.
The abdomen is orange-yellow above, with a series of black spots that decrease in size near the anal region. The yellow-orange area is bordered on the sides by a series of black spots. The lower abdomen is white with a double row of black spots.
In the male the branching of the antennas is very short equal to the maximum of twice the base of the antenna. Adults are visible from May to August depending on the latitude.
Although in Asia it is very present in dry environments such as steppes, it can also be found in mixed woods: humid, humid deciduous forests and parks .
The larva is dark in color, variable, from gray to brown to black, covered with thick hair, with a lighter dorsal line that runs throughout the body.
The larvae feed on various plants including Lamiun, Menyanthes trifoliata, Rumex (romice, lapazio) and of course Urtica (nettle) *.
* Lepidoptera mundi https://lepidoptera.eu/ - Fauna Europea https://fauna-eu.org/