Lasiocampa (Lasiocampa) quercus
- Subfamily: Lasiocampinae
- Wingspan: 55-99 mm
- Flight period: Jun - Sep
- Spread: Common
- Host plants: Polyphagus
The Lasiocampa quercus is a moth of the Lasiocampidae family with a wingspan of 55-70 mm in males and up to 99 mm in females.
In Europe we find it practically everywhere, even in Iceland. *
In Italy it is absent only from Sardinia. *
The Lasiocampa quercus is brown in the males, and brown / ocher in the females, the wing design consists of two clear ocellar spots on the front wings and in a yellowish band that crosses the center of the wings fading outwards. This pattern appears more pronounced in males.
It has only one generation per year, in which the adult stage usually appears between the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. The males are easily noticed because they fly during the day and flutter nervously even in the middle of the city, looking for the females. which are rather sedentary and hidden during the day. **, ***
Females can be attracted to artificial light at night. Their body is heavier than that of males and their bulky abdomen, already at birth, it contains the eggs waiting to be fertilized. Males track females from great distances by recognizing specific pheromones they produce. **, ***
Like the other moths of the Lasiocampidae family to which it belongs, the Lasiocampa quercus has a very rudimentary and it does not feed: its life runs out in about a week.
From the hours after mating, the female begins to lay eggs which, unlike many other butterflies and moths, does not attach to a substrate: one by one, he lets them fall freely to the ground, where they spread out rolling thanks to their basically spherical shape.
Caterpillars are dark and hairy, with light intersegmental bands.
The pupation takes place in an ovoid cocoon woven among the grass with a brown silk thread. In the northernmost latitudes, development can last two years, with the larvae overwintering the first year and the pupae the second year.
The larvae feed on various plants such as Fagaceae Quercus (oak), Salicaceae Salix (willows), Rosaceae Rubus (brambles) and Rubus plicatus and Ericaceae Calluna vulgaris (heather) and Vaccinium (blueberries) and others. **
* Lepidoptera mundi https://lepidoptera.eu/ - Fauna Europea https://fauna-eu.org/
** R. L. E. Ford, FRES, FZS (1963). Larger British Moths. Frederick Warne, Observer Series.
*** Guide to the moths of Great Britain and Ireland UK Moths: Oak eggar" - https://ukmoths.org.uk/