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Japanese oak silkmoth

Antheraea yamamai
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Foto: Clemens Nestroy
Foto: Harald Süpfle
Foto: Harald Süpfle

NATIVE RANGE: East Asia (Japan)


PATHWAYS: intentionally introductions

POSSIBLE TO FIND: April – September


DESCRIPTION: A large moth with a wingspan of 11–15 cm. The wing colour is variable: sandy yellow to chocolate and reddish-brown. In the middle of each wing there is an eye-shaped spot, while distally of these there is a black, white and pink line. Caterpillars are bright green and measure up to 9 cm. Young caterpillars have five longitudinal black stripes. They hibernate as eggs, which females lay on branches of the host trees.

HABITAT: Lowland deciduous forests and parks. Caterpillars feed mainly on oaks (Quercus spp.), sometimes also on chestnuts (Castanea spp.), hornbeams (Carpinus spp.) and roses (Rosa spp.).

STATUS: Only in Central Europe, slowly spreading to surrounding countries. Widespread in Slovenia.

SIMILAR SPECIES: The European giant peacock moth (Saturnia pyri) is equally large (wingspan 10–13 cm), but appears earlier (April–July) and has more extensively patterned wings. Its caterpillars bear excrescences with stinging hairs. Another similar European native species is the tau emperor (Aglia tau) which has an earlier flight season (March–July) and is smaller (wingspan 6–8.5 cm). Young caterpillars have distinctive pink tubercles.

SOURCE: Field Guide to Invasive Alien Species in European Forests

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