logo

Leopard Moth - Zeuzera pyrina

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Cossidae

Leopard Moth, Sardinia

The Leopard Moth is one of only three of the approximately 700 species of Cossidae moths (Leopard and Goat moths) to occur in Great Britain.

The large furry white thorax of the Leopard Moth displays 6 dark spots arranged in two lines, and its white, almost transparent wings, are also covered in dark spots. The Male has comb-like antennae which are one of the significant features in accurate identification.

The Leopard Moth lives in gardens, open woodland, parks and orchards.

The forewing of the Leopard Moth ranges between 22 and 35mm

Leopard Moth, France, top view

Distribution

In Britain the Leopard Moth is most common in southern England and has only once been recorded from Ireland.

Lifecycle

The Leopard Moth is shortlived because it is unable to feed. It over-winters two or three times in its larval form and feeds on the stems and leaves of various trees and shrubs.

The larval foodplants of the Leopard Moth include many trees and shrubs both in parkland and gardens. They include various fruit trees such as Cherry, Apple, Pear and Black Currant and the larvae have been known to inflict considerable damage to fruit crops. The larvae also live and feed on Hawthorne, Honeysuckle, Beech and Ash trees.

Pictures: Rob Petley-Jones

Studying butterflies and moths...