Phalera bucephala L Bufftip moth

Minor infestations of this common, polyphagous species sometimes occur on fruit trees. The gregarious larvae cause considerable defoliation but are of greater significance on forestry and ornamental trees and shrubs.


Moths are active from late May or June to July. Their eggs are laid in large batches on the underside of leaves and then covered in hairs from the female's abdomen. Larvae feed gregariously from July or August onwards but, unlike many other gregarious species, they do not form webs. In their final instar, the larvae tend to become solitary. Pupation occurs in the autumn in earthen cells, and adults emerge in the following year.


Adult 55-65 mm wingspan, body noticeably hairy; forewings light grey to silver-grey, with scattered reddish-brown and black markings and a prominent whitish-yellow apical blotch; hindwings pale yellow to whitish (Fig. 313). Larva up to 60 mm long; body pale yellow with black longitudinal stripes interrupted by yellowish-orange intersegmental cross-bands; body hairs fine and whitish; head mainly black and shiny. Pupa 25-28 mm long, purplish-brown; cremaster with four short spines.

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