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

Eriogaster arbusculae Freyer, 1849

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Gastropacha arbusculae Freyer, 1849: 304.
Type locality: Northern Tyrol, near Reutte
Type: Not designated (description based on larva)

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:



Eriogaster arbusculae is a boreoalpine species, in Europe known from the Alps and Scandinavia (Karsholt & Nieukerken 2019). The species is regularly found from about 1700 to 2200 m a.s.l., exceptionally already from 1000 m onwards as high as 2400 m (Kurz & Kurz 2019).


Natural biotopes of the species are elfin woodland, subalpine willow associations, dwarf shrub heaths, alpine meadows and pastures and sometimes also scarcely vegetated screes. In their natural environsment, imagines are on the wing at the end of May and in June, shortly after snowmelt. There are, however, only few reliable data, since most animals in collections are reared, with emerging data from March onwards. Larvae are found mainly in July, but also still in early August. They are day-active (all data after Kurz & Kurz 2019).

Stages in development:

Vorarlberg, Brandnertal, Schattenlagant, Talstation Lünersee-Seilbahn, 1580 m, 2004.07.30 Vorarlberg, Brandnertal, Schattenlagant, Talstation Lünersee-Seilbahn, 1580 m, 2004.07.30 Salzburg, Gurktaler Alpen, Lungau, near Ramingstein, 2013.07.28 Salzburg, Hohe Tauern, Rauris valley, tour on the Kalkbretterkopf, 2008.07.25
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Puchmayr Gertraud
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Egg. As in related species, the eggs are deposited in heaps on the twigs of the larval foodplants and then covered densely in clumps with the abdominal hairs of the females.

Larva (description following Freyer 1843). Head shining black, without white streaks; ground colour pitch black; on each segment two orange spots close to the anterior margin, followed by two white ones; body with scarce reddish hair cover; laterally a row of small white spots, giving the impression of a row of white beads; thoracic legs brown, abdominal legs rusty yellow. Till the last molt, the larvae inhabit commonly up to 20 cm large, more or less globular and very dense silken nests, which cover the food plant or parts of it completely. Often, the nests are also much elongated. Mostly, the larva is found on Salix waldsteiniana, documented however are also Vaccinium myrtillus (Kurz & Kurz 2019), as well as Betula pendula (lepiforum 2019). In lepiforum, Rennwald (2019) discusses also the possibilities of further larval foodplants like Salix-, Betula-, Alnus- and Vaccinium-species, as well as Sorbus aria and Rubus chamaemorus.

Pupa. Pupation takes place in an oval, cylindrical and very dense cocoon on the ground. When rearing, pupae may lie unchanged several years before the imagines emerge.

Worth knowing:


Freyer, C. F. 1843. Falter der Reinthal- oder Schlückenalpe bei Reutte in Tyrol. (Schluss.) Entomologische Zeitung Stettin 4 (6): 162-167.
Freyer, C. F. 1849. Lepidopterologisches. Entomologische Zeitung Stettin 10 (10): 301-306.
Karsholt, O. & Nieukerken, E.J. van. 2019. Lepidoptera, Moths. Fauna Europaea version 2017.06, https://fauna-eu.org [online 2019.05.15].
Kurz, M. A. & M. E. Kurz 2000–2019. Naturkundliches Informationssystem. – URL: http://www.nkis.info [online 2019.05.20].
Rennwald, E. 2019. [Foodplants of Eriogaster arbusculae], http://lepiforum.de/lepiwiki.pl [online 2019.05.20].

Publication data:

Kurz Michael: 2005.09.16
Kurz Michael: 2017.02.24
Kurz Michael: 2017.03.10
Kurz Michael: 2019.05.20
not reviewed