Home / Prominent Moths (Notodontidae) / Puss Moth (Cerura vinula)

Puss Moth (Cerura vinula)

Puss moth of the lepidopteran order is a part of the Notodontidae family, spreading throughout Europe, Asia, and China. Overall, these moths have a fluffy appearance just like a cat, earning them the name puss moth.

Puss Moth


Scientific Classification

  • Family: Notodontidae
  • Genus: Cerura
  • Scientific Name: Cerura vinula

Description and Identification


When young, they are entirely black. As they mature, the larvae turn light green with a purplish-brown or blackish-brown pattern in its dorsal region bordered in yellow or white. At the abdomen’s end lies a tail fork, with two dark tips, bearing an extendable red flagellae (whip-like appendage). They grow to a length of 8 cm, occurring between July and September. Before pupating within a hard cocoon that they spin on the trunk of a tree, the caterpillar goes on to strip the stems of their host plants’ leaves.

Puss Moth Caterpillar



The pupa enclosed within the hard cocoon that remains attached to their host plants appear reddish-brown.

Puss Moth Cocoon


Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present

The male puss moths are smaller than their female counterparts, and both the sexes also differ in color when it comes to their hindwings.

Color and Appearance

Forewings: When opened, it is yellowish-gray or white with dark, wavy lines running across. When closed, it is all the more the same, with a lesser number of lines visible.

Hindwings: When opened, they are whitish or light gray in males and blackish in females. When closed, the pattern remains unchanged.

Average Wingspan: 5.8 – 7.5 cm

Flight Pattern: Not recorded

Season: April – August

Cerura vinula



The eggs are chocolate brown, having a width of about 1.5 laid on the host plant’s leaves’ upper surface.

Puss Moth Eggs


Quick Facts

DistributionThroughout Europe, parts of Asia, and also North Africa
HabitatDense woodland regions
PredatorsBirds, rats, bats
Lifespan of AdultsNot recorded
Host PlantsPoplar and willow
Adult DietLeaves of their host plants

Did You Know

  • Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, in his 10th edition of Systema Naturae published in 1758, described these moths for the first time.
  • They five subspecies in total like Cerura vinula estonicaCerura vinula phantom, and Cerura vinula vinula.
  • If threatened, the larva sprays formic acid upon its predator as a defense mechanism.
Puss Moth Image


Puss Moth Photo


Puss Moth Picturer


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