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Box Tree Moth (Cydalima perspectalis)

The box tree moth, or tree moth, is a member of the family of grass moths. English entomologist Francis Walker first described this species in 1859.

Box Tree Moth

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Scientific Classification


  • Family: Crambidae
  • Genus: Cydalima
  • Scientific Name: Cydalima perspectalis

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

They are light-green, with white dots and black stripes. Their head is black, and their body is covered with bristles. Initially, they are 1–2 mm long but by the final instar they can reach lengths of 35–40 mm.

Tree Moth Caterpillar

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Box Tree Moth Larvae

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Pupa

Pupae start as green with brown longitudinal lines, becoming more brownish as time goes on. They are around 25-30 mm.

Box Tree Moth Pupa

Researchgate.net

Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent

Color and Appearance

Forewing: When opened, the wings are mostly white with a dark brown band on the outer margin and a white spot. Some specimens have brown wings, instead of white, but the white spot remains present. When closed, the white spot remains visible.

Hindwing: When the wings are opened, they are either white with a brown margin or are completely brown. When closed, the brown margin merges seamlessly into that of the forewing. 

Average wingspan: 40–45 mm

Flight pattern:  Erratic

Season: April/May to September

Tree Moth

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Egg

The translucent eggs are laid in the form of a gelatinous mass of 5-20 under unaffected leaves of the host plant. They are around 1mm in diameter.

Box Tree Moth Eggs

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Quick Facts

DistributionNative: China, Japan, Korea, India, far-east Russia, and Taiwan
Invasive: Europe, including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, and Turkey. Recently in North America, including Canada and the United States
HabitatWide range of vegetation types such as calcareous grasslands, deciduous and evergreen broadleaved forests, evergreen needled woodlands, and garigues
Lifespan of Adults2 weeks
PredatorsAsian hornet
Host PlantsBoxwood
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • While the species is naturally checked in its native Asian habitats, its introduction to European forests has been destructive due to the lack of natural predators.
  • Of the European countries where it is invasive, it was first spotted in Germany in the year 2006, in 2007 in Netherlands, 2008 in Great Britian and 2009 in Austria and France. It migrated to the Americas quite recently, found in Canada in 2018, and the eastern parts of the United States in 2021.
Cydalima perspectalis

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Box Tree Moth Image

Idtools.org

Box Tree Moth Picture

Butterfly-conservation.org

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