N A T U R K U N D L I C H E S   I N F O R M A T I O N S S Y S T E M

Malacosoma neustria neustria (Linné, 1758)

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Phalaena (Bombyx) neustria Linné, 1758: 500.
Type locality: None given, probably England.
Type: Not designated. Syntypes in coll. The Linnean Collections at The Linnean Society of London (pictures)

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
Synonyms following Savela (2019):

Malacosoma mauginii Turati, 1924. Junior subjective synonym of Phalaena (Bombyx) neustria neustria Linné, 1758.
Malacosoma neustria ab. unicolor Aigner-Abafi, 1906. Unavailable infrasubspecific name.



The typical subspecies is distributed nearly throughout Europe (Karsholt & Nieukerken 2019). From North Africa (type locality Algeria), ssp. flavescens Grünberg, 1912 has been described. In the eastern Palaearctic region, the species is represented by ssp. testacea Motschulsky, [1861]. The vertical distribution of the typical subspecies reaches from near sea level up to about 1500 m a.s.l. (Kurz & Kurz 2019).


e.l. 2002.06.22      
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Natural biotope of the typical subspecies are deciduous wood edges and bushland, also in cultivated areas. Imagines fly in July and early August, with first individuals in the Mediterranean area already at the end of May. A single date from April is probably based on a reared individual. Larvae develope in May and June (in the south already in April), pupation takes place in June. The eggs hibernate. Larvae are day-active, imagines fly in the first half of the night (all data following Kurz & Kurz 2019).

Documented predators of the larvae are Micrommata virescens, Solifugae sp., Tetramorium sp., as well as further undetermined ants (lepiforum 2019).

Stages in development:

Eggs: Salzburg, Flachgau, Eugendorf, Sophiensiedlung, 2002.05.21 Frass: Salzburg, Flachgau, Eugendorf, Sophiensiedlung, 2002.05.21 Larvae, immediately after the last mould: Salzburg, Flachgau, Eugendorf, Sophiensiedlung, 2002.05.21 Montenegro, Niksic, Golija, Donje Caradje, 2011.06.10
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Montenegro, Prokletije, from Vusanje to Zastan, 2011.06.13 Carinthia, Warmbad Villach, way to Federaun, 2007.05.12    
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Egg. The eggs are laid in typical manner in spirals around a few millimeter thick twigs.

Larva. The larvae feed on deciduous woods (following Kurz & Kurz 2019, Carpinus betulus, Carpinus orientalis, Rosa canina and an unidentified species of Salix have been documented). Following lepiforum (2019) also the following larval foodplants can be taken for sure: Prunus spinosa, Crataegus, Quercus robur, Quercus coccifera and, based on the finding of a pupa, probably also Betula pendula.

Worth knowing:


Karsholt, O. & Nieukerken, E.J. van. 2019. Lepidoptera, Moths. Fauna Europaea version 2017.06, https://fauna-eu.org [online 2019.05.21].
Kurz, M. A. & M. E. Kurz 2000–2019. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. – URL: http://www.nkis.info [online 2019.05.21].
Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae, Ed. X. (Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata.) Holmiae. Systema Nat. ed. 10 i-ii + 1-824.
lepiforum 2019. Bestimmungshilfe für die in Europa nachgewiesenen Schmetterlingsarten. http://lepiforum.de/lepiwiki.pl [online 2019.05.21].
Savela, M. 2019. Lepidoptera and some other life forms. Malacosoma Hübner, [1820]. http://ftp.funet.fi/pub/sci/bio/life/insecta/lepidoptera/ditrysia/bombycoidea/lasiocampidae/lasiocampinae/malacosoma/ [online 2019.05.21].

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2017.03.23
Kurz Michael: 2019.11.08
not reviewed