Brahmin Moths (Brahmaeidae)

Brahmin moths are a family of moths known for their unique-looking caterpillars.

List of Moths in this Family

  • European owl moth (Brahmaea europaea)
  • Sino-Korean owl moth (Brahmaea certhia)
  • Japanese owl moth (Brahmaea japonica)
  • Siberian owl moth (Brahmaea tancrei)
  • Owl moth (Brahmaea wallichii)
  • Autumn silkworm moth (Lemonia taraxaci)
  • Brachygnatha diastemata
  • Calliprogonos miraculosa
  • Spiramiopsis comma
  • Lemonia sacrosancta

Description and Identification


The caterpillar has one of the most bizarre appearances, with long black spindles on their head, a pointed tail, and black protrusions on its back.


Pupae are brownish-red and segmented.

Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present. Males have feathery antennae, which are absent in females.

Color and Appearance

When opened, their wings are golden-brown and intricately patterned. These beautiful markings remain observable even when the wings are closed.

Average wingspan: 5-18 cm

Flight pattern: Erratic

Season: Spring


Their eggs are oddly patterned, with a small cavity on the shell. They are pale with light brown markings on them.

Quick Facts

Distribution Africa, Asia, and Europe
Habitat Montane, tropical, and temperate forests
Lifespan of Adults Not recorded
Host Plants Ash, lilac, and privet
Adult Diet Does not feed

Did You Know

  • English lepidopterist Colonel Charles Swinhoe first described this family of moths in 1892.