Erannis defoliaria Clerck Mottled umber moth

This moth is a generally common pest of deciduous trees and is sometimes of importance in orchards and in bush-fruit plantations.


Adults are active from mid-October onwards. Eggs are eventually laid in crevices in the bark of host plants and these hatch in the following spring. Larvae feed from late March or early April to June. When disturbed they drop from the tree on a silken thread. Fully fed larvae enter the soil where they eventually pupate.

Fig. 307 Male peppered moth, Biston betularia (XLS).
Fig. 308 Larva of pepppered moth, Bison betularia (x2): (a) head (further enlarged).


Adult female f0-15 mm long, mainly ochreous-yellow, mottled with black, and wingless (Fig. 309). Adult male 35-38 mm wingspan: forewings extremely variable, usually pale yellow to reddish-brown with darker markings: hindwings whitish-grey (Fig. 310). Larva up to

Fig. 309 Wingless female mottled umber moth, Erannis defoliaria (x3).
Fig. 310 Male mottled umber moth, Erannis defoliaria (x3).

35 mm long; body reddish-brown with yellow or whitish markings on the side of the abdomen, and a black line above the spiracles; two pairs of abdominal prolegs; spiracles white, black-ringed and often surrounded by reddish patches; head reddish-brown.

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