Cerapteryx graminis L Antler moth

The antler moth is a sporadic pest of grasses, especially hard-textured species. Although present in various lowland sites, most damage is caused in upland areas. The larvae, sometimes known as 'armyworms', damage the roots and shoots; they occasionally migrate in large numbers, devouring grasses as they advance, and can then cause death of plants over a wide area.


The moths are usually most abundant in August and early September. They fly both at night and during the daytime, often in considerable numbers. Eggs, usually about 200 per female, are dropped at random as the moths fly over grass-

Fig. 321 Forewing of antler moth, Cerapteryx graminis (x4).

land. Some of the eggs hatch in the autumn but most do not do so until the following February or March. The larvae feed for several months and eventually pupate in the soil, from late June onwards.


Adult 28-38 mm wingspan; forewings greyish-brown to reddish-brown, with a whitish to ochre-ous antler-like pattern (Fig. 321); hindwings pale brown to brownish-black. Larva up to 35 mm long; body glossy, bronzy-brown with broad, pale yellowish-brown, black-edged longitudinal lines and pale apical margins to each segment; spiracles black; head brownish.

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