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Fox Moth (Macrothylacia rubi)

The fox moth is a member of the family of snout moths, named so due to the color of the male’s wings resembling a fox.

Fox Moth

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Scientific Classification


  • Family: Lasiocampidae
  • Genus: Macrothylacia
  • Scientific Name: Macrothylacia rubi

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

They hatch in about three weeks from the eggs being laid. Initially, the larvae are dark brown with orange bands present on their bodies. As they grow older, they develop long brown hair on the side and shorter hair on the top. A mature larva measures 8cm on an average.

Fox Moth Caterpillar

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Pupa

Pupation takes place in a cocoon amongst vegetation.

Fox Moth Pupa

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Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present. Males have reddish-brown wings while in the females it is of a pale gray coloration. Also, the females are slightly larger than males.

Color and Appearance

Forewing: When the wings are opened, a pair of narrow, light-yellow, and transverse bands are observed. When the wings are closed, the banded patterns remain the same.

Hindwing: When the wings are opened, they are either entirely reddish-brown (males) or pale gray (females). When the wings are closed, the reddish-brown or pale gray shades can hardly be seen.

Average wingspan: 4.8-7.2 cm

Flight pattern: Consistent

Season: May – June

Macrothylacia rubi

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Egg

They are grey, laid on the branches and stems of host plants.

Fox Moth Eggs

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Quick Facts

DistributionWestern Europe to Central Asia and Siberia
HabitatOpen woodlands, moors, and prairies
Lifespan of Adults2 months
Host PlantsAspen, bilberry, bramble, grasses, heather, red clover, sallows, silver birch, strawberries, and zigzag clover
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus first described the fox moth in 1758, in the 10th edition of his book Systema Naturae.
Fox Moth Image

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Fox Moth Picture

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