Sycamore Moth (Acronicta aceris)
The sycamore moth is a member of the family of owlet moths. Famed Swedish zoologist Carl Linneaus first described this species in the 10th edition of his book Systema Naturae in 1758.
Description and Identification
The larva is brightly colored, covered with orange-yellow hairs and a series of white spots along its back bordered in purple. A fully grown caterpillar is around 4 cm long.
After maturing, the caterpillars leave their host plant to find a location to pupate. They overwinter as a pupa.
Sexual Dimorphism: Present. The hindwing is white in males, while it is greyish in females.
Color and Appearance
Forewing: When the wings are opened, they are pale to dark grey in color. There is a series of indistinct markings on their wings, with the only distinct marking being a thin black basal line. When the wins are closed, the colors and patterns remain the same.
Hindwing: When the wings are opened, they are white (males) or grey (females), with dark streaks at the margin. When the wings are closed, the colors and patterns are not visible.
Average wingspan: 4-4.5 cm
Flight pattern: Erratic
Season: June to August
Female moths lay the eggs on the leaves of the host plant.
|Distribution||Europe, from central England south to Morocco; Near East and the Middle East to western Asia.|
|Habitat||Gardens, parks, scrubs, and woodlands|
|Lifespan of Adults||Not recorded|
|Host Plants||Primarily maples and also on common horse-chestnut, large-leaved lime, mulberry, and pedunculate oak.|
Did You Know
- There are three known sub-species of these moths, each found in different parts of the world – A. a. aceris (Europe), A. a. taurica (Cyprus), and A. a. judaea (Levant).