Ermine Moths

A family of micro-moths, sometimes called Silk Moths, are the Ermine Moths (Yponomeutidae). The caterpillars make a silk cocoon around their habitat. In some species, these can be huge spins, so that trees or shrubs are quite covered and bare any leaves. The caterpillars feed on the fresh leaves of the tree. In Europe, there are about 60 different species and in the Netherlands about 10 to 20. In most species, the moths keep in the resting position their wings like a roof over their bodies.

 

Subfamily: Yponomeutinae
Genus: Swammerdamia

Birch Ermine – 2019 (NL)

What you do not expect immediately is that the Birch Ermine (Swammerdamia caesiella), given its appearance, belongs to the ermine moth family. This grey moth was in my moth trap that I put outside on the patio on a calm and dry night. The head is whitish or brownish and the thorax grey. The forewing is pale grey, speckled black and white, with a white or pale grey patch at the costa close to the apex. The flying period is in two generations, from May to June and from July to August and the wingspan is 9-13mm. Host plant: Birch. Dutch name: Egale duifmot. Frisian name:

 

Subfamily: Yponomeutinae
Genus: Yponomeuta

Apple Ermine – 2017 (NL)

A fairly common ermine moth is the Apple Ermine (Yponomeuta malinellus). You can encounter this moth especially near apple trees. The wings are white, often with grey pollination, with numerous black spots slightly larger than the other species. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish the ermine moths from each other. A characteristic for the Apple Ermine are the black spots aligned near the apex. They are also more sharply drawn than in the other species. The hindwing is grey-brown. The flying period is from mid-June to mid-August in one generation and the wingspan is 20-23mm. Host plant: Apple. Dutch name: Appelstippelmot. Frisian name:

 

Subfamily: Yponomeutinae
Genus: Yponomeuta

Bird-cherry Ermine – 2017 (NL)

A very common ermine moth is the Bird-cherry Ermine (Yponomeuta evonymella). The forewing is uniformly white with black dots that are present in much higher numbers than all other Yponomeuta species. The black dots can be seen in five rows. The flying period in one generation is from June to September and the wingspan is 19-25mm. Host plant: Bird-cherry, Sweet Cherry, and Plum. Dutch name: Vogelkersstippelmot. Frisian name:

 

Subfamily: Yponomeutinae
Genus: Yponomeuta

Orchard Ermine – 2018 (NL)

Another difficult to distinguish ermine moth is the Orchard Ermine (Yponomeuta padella). The forewing is bi-colored grey and white or completely light grey with black dots. It is probably the best option to label all grey specimens as the Orchard Ermine. The grey-white form of the Orchard Ermine and the Apple Ermine are almost indistinguishable from each other and one should focus on the caterpillars. Even then it is questionable. The flying period in one generation is from June to August and the wingspan is 12-13mm. Host plant: Hawthorn and Blackthorn. Dutch name: Meidoornstippelmot. Frisian name:

 

Subfamily: Yponomeutinae
Genus: Yponomeuta

Willow Ermine – 2018 (NL)

A slightly easier to identify ermine moth is the Willow Ermine (Yponomeuta rorellus). The forewing is long and narrow and is two-tone grey and white. The black dots are generally smaller than with other ermine moths. A black or dark grey smear can be seen in the center of the forewing and the dorsum is dark grey. The flying period is from July to September in one generation and the wingspan is 19-24mm. Host plant: Willow. Dutch name: Wilgenstippelmot. Frisian name: