Alsophila aescularia Denis Schiffermiiller March moth

The March moth is an often common pest of orchard trees. In spring, the larvae damage the unopened buds; they also attack the expanded leaves, blossom trusses and fruitlets.

BIOLOGY

Adults occur throughout March. Eggs are laid in a batch, which encircles a twig. They are then coated in hairs from the female's anal tuft. Larvae feed from April to June and then pupate in the soil within silken cocoons. Adults emerge in the following spring.

DESCRIPTION

Adult female 8 mm long, wingless; body greyish-brown, with a prominent anal tuft of hair.

Fig. 305 Larva of magpie moth, Abraxas grossulariata (x3): (a) abdominal proleg and crochets (further enlarged).
Fig. 306 Male March moth. Alsophila aescularia (xl). p

Adult male 25-30 mm wingspan; forewings distinctly angular, grey to brownish-grey, with pale markings (Fig. 306); hindwings pale grey. Larva up to 25 mm long; body pale green with a dark green dorsal stripe and yellowish-white longitudinal lines, including one passing below the spiracles; one vestigial and two functional pairs of abdominal prolegs (cf. winter moth, Operophtera brumata, p. 231); head green.

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