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Brown-tail Moth(Euproctis chrysorrhoea)

The brown-tail moth indigenous to Europe, Asia, and Africa’s northern coast belongs to the Erebidae family. In the United States, they were known to be introduced accidentally during the 1890s. Though its population spread to a larger part of America in the first half of the 20th century, a significant depletion in their numbers occurred in the latter half. The main reason is the appearance of a parasitic fly. However, their numbers have been on the rise since 2015 in the United States and Europe.

Brown-tail Moth

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Scientific Classification


  • Family: Erebidae
  • Genus: Euproctis
  • Scientific Name: Euproctis chrysorrhoea

Description and Identification 

Caterpillar

The larva has a brown hairy body with broken white lines on both sides. They even have two red spots near their tail that prominently distinguish them from the hairy larvae of other moths.

Brown-tail Moth Larvae

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Brown-tail Moth Caterpillar

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Pupa

The dark brown pupae remain safely enclosed in their cocoons till July, after which they develop as adult moths and come out of their shells.

Brown-tail Moth Cocoon

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Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present

Color and AppearanceWhen the wings are opened, they appear hairy and white. The male moths often have patches of brown on the lower side of their forewing. The tail has a reddish-brown hairy appearance that seems more prominent in the female brown-tail species. When the wings are closed, they look entirely white, and the patches are not visible.

The females have a larger body but smaller antennae than males.

Average Wingspan: 3.6 – 4.7 cm

Flight Pattern: Not recorded

Season: July to August

Euproctis chrysorrhoea

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Brown-tail Moth Image

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Eggs

The female lays between 200 and 400 eggs underneath the leaves of their host plants. The eggs look reddish-brown since they remain covered with the abdominal hairs of the mother moth.

Brown-tail Moth Eggs

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Quick Facts

DistributionNative: England, Scotland, Wales,  and different parts of Europe apart from the northern countries, parts of north Africa, western Asia (Syria, Turkey, Israel) Invasive: Parts of United States (from Connecticut to Maine) and Canada (towards New Brunswick)
HabitatCoastal regions and forests
PredatorsParasitic fly and a kind of fungus mostly appearing during wet spring and destroying some of them
Lifespan of AdultsApproximately one month
Host PlantsElm, beech, maple, pear, grape, oak, willow, raspberry, rose, cherry, beach plum, apple, hawthorn
Adult DietNectar mostly of its host plants

Did You Know

  • The caterpillar’s hairs are known for its high levels of toxicity towards humans resulting in an itchy rash similar to poison ivy. It could even result in breathing problems when inhaled.
  • The adult moths are nocturnal, strongly attracted to light.
  • They closely resemble the yellow-tail and fall webworm native to Europe and North America in appearance.
Brown-tail Moth Pictures

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Brow-tail Moth Photos

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Brown-tail

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Scientific Classification

  • Family: Erebidae
  • Genus: Euproctis
  • Scientific Name: Euproctis chrysorrhoea