Caterpillars of the
World - Britain
Superfamily - BOMBYCOIDEA
Family - ENDROMIDAE
family Endromidae comprises of only 22 species. The majority are
found in temperate regions of the Palaearctic region, from northern
Europe to China and Korea.
There are 8 genera
Oberthueria, Prismosticta and
Pseudandraca. The adult moths vary in
wing shape and pattern, but tend to be brownish in colour with white
and grey or black markings. They have a stout thorax, and short
antennae which are pectinate in males.
Endromis comprises of a single species
versicolora which is found throughout
Europe, and across temperate Asia to Siberia and China. In Britain
it is a very scarce insect, confined to the central and eastern
Highlands of Scotland.
This species is found in birch forests, in areas
of extensive young growth, at altitudes between sea level and about
The eggs are laid in batches on twigs of birch
Betula. The young larvae are gregarious
but become solitary during the later instars. They resemble
Sphingidae larvae, but have a shorter tail horn and forward-slanting
diagonal stripes, as opposed to the backward-slanting stripes of
hawkmoths. When at rest they adopt the characteristic
head-in-the-air posture as depicted above. The pupa is formed within
a coarse brown silk cocoon, among leaf litter on the ground.
Males fly on sunny or warm overcast days in April
and early May. Females hang suspended from sprays of birch during
the daytime, and disseminate pheromones which can attract males from
1-2kms away. The male is considerably smaller than the female, and
during copulation clings to her abdomen. The females only fly at