Monday, 23 January 2017

Moth Mondays - The Black Arches


The Black Arches
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Erebidae
Genus:     Lymantria
Species:     L. monacha
Binomial name
Lymantria monacha

This moth... a male of the  The Black Arches or Nun moth (Lymantria monacha) la Nonne...
I have only seen this once... the males are attracted to light...and this came to the door!
The flight period is July and August and these pictures were taken 12th July 2011.

The fact that it is male can be seen by the feathery antennae... in fact this moth is renown for the size of these.

It is a very variable moth... from paler than this to a black, melanistic form...
take a look at the German site for some fourteen examples....
but this one is the one usually illustrated in guides...
the hindwings are grey/grey brown with a more or less white wavy pattern on the outer edge....
The abdomen has more... or less... of the black and pink/orange stripes shown here.

The second of only two shots...
but, fortunately shows the stripey abdomen.
The white dots on these pictures are in fact... wing scales!

The caterpillar is hairy and has a dark, geometrically patterned back... with a diamond pattern in the centre...
it feeds on pine and spruce, where it can reach pest proportions... but secondary food plants are oak, beech, lime and willow...

The pupa is coarsely hairy... and looks as if it pupated inside the caterpillar's skin.

Next Monday... another surprise.... I haven't decided yet! Too much choice...

NB: The information from the other sources is now placed at the bottom of the post.

Other than Wikipedia.... and personal observations!
Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa [ also known as]
A superbly illustrated site.... marvellous on the Micromoths...
but difficult to use on a tablet/iPad.... an awful lot of scrolling needed.   An excellent resource... with distribution maps

UK Moths This is quite a simple site... but nicely put together.

The German site - For really good samples of photos...
including museum specimens: to use....
Enter the Latin name and then select the Latin name from the list of pages found.
There is probably a lot more on this site... but I don't read [or speak] German!!

From the Wiki:

The Black Arches or Nun moth (Lymantria monacha) la Nonne is a small Palaearctic moth. It is considered a forest pest.

The moths of Lymantria monacha have a wingspan of 40 to 50 mm. They have white forewings with black connected wavy arches which gives the moth its name. The light brown hindwings have white fringes having black spots. They also have a characteristic biscuit-coloured abdomen with a black band. Females are larger and have elongated wings.

The eggs are oval, light brown or light red. Larvae are whitish grey to blackish, with grey hairs, red and blue warts, and a dark longitudinal dorsal line which is interrupted or broadened into spots in places. Pupa is golden glossy red-brown or dark brown, with reddish hairs dorsally and rather long anal point.

Technical description and variation
White forewing with black basal spots and four sharply angulate black transverse lines, the second of which is the broadest; hindwing greyish white and grey. Abdomen light rosepink. The species varies strongly and has received the following aberrational names,
nigra : The two central bands are confluent at the costal and posterior margins, forming black spots, or the whole median area is dark, the red of the abdomen usually weaker,
eremita : Forewing and abdomen smoke-brown or blackish grey, the former with black markings,
atra : Forewing uniformly black, without markings, hindwing greyish brown, abdomen black,
lutea : is a light form in which the central bands are interrupted; the red colour of the abdomen is equally deep almost to the thorax,
flavoabdominalis : has the abdomen yellow instead of red;
subfusca : female is distinguished by everything which is black in true monacha being yellowish brown, and the abdomen being also yellowish brown instead of red;
obsoleta : the dark transverse bands in the median area of the forewing are absent, while they remain in the basal and outer-marginal areas.
All these names were given to European specimens.

This moth can be found in most of Europe including British Isles and in temperate regions of the Palearctic East to Japan.

Life cycle
The larvae hibernate when young, remain together in batches and are full grown in June.

Food plants and pest significance
The larvae feed preferentially on spruce (Picea abies) and pine (Pinus sylvestris). They also feed on silver fir (Abies alba), European larch (Larix decidua), aspen (Populus tremula), hornbeam (Carpinus betulus), European beech (Fagus sylvatica), pedunculate oak (Quercus robur), apple (Malus domestica), sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) and bogberry (Vaccinium uliginosum). In spring the larvae consume the first buds, then later the needles. A single caterpillar eats about 200 pine, or 1000 spruce needles and twice as many are damaged by biting off. Spruces die at 70 percent needle loss and pine at 90 percent. There is also a danger also increased of secondary infections by longhorn beetles, bark beetles, fungi or other pathogens. Therefore, outbreaks can cause major damage in forestry.

From UK Moths

Black Arches Lymantria monacha
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Wingspan 30-50 mm.

This attractive black and white species often shows traces of bright pink on the body, especially the abdomen, which however is normally concealed when at rest.

The males, which can be attracted to light, are smaller than the females, but have very large, feathery antennae.

Distributed mainly throughout the southern half of Britain, chiefly in woodland habitats, the adults fly in July and August.

The larvae feed in the spring, usually on oak (Quercus), but sometimes on coniferous trees.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

Well. Tim. you certainly have opened my eyes to the amazing beauty of moths. This is one handsome fellow...the German site did indeed show how varied their patterns can be. Yours ranks with the best of theirs.

A belated thank you, Pauline, for your great post on your bird feeding
operation. We provide a pan of seed on our patio table as well as suet blocks. Feral cats are an ever present danger so we try to keep seed from falling on the ground and protect the feed pan with fencing.
I spend an awful lot of time at the kitchen window just watching the coming and going. No feeders in the trees here because the deer knock them down.