Thaumetopoea pityocampa

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Thaumetopoea pityocampa migrating mature larvae in search for a suitable pupation site (click on image to enlarge it)
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Thaumetopoea pityocampa (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775) - (pine processionary moth)
is an important, defoliating pest of pine trees in Mediterranean countries. The hairs of the caterpillars cause strong irritations on the skin and are a health hazard for persons visiting infested pine forests. The short-lived adults emerge in the summer, do not feed and lay egg-masses on twigs (4-5 cm long) from which the gregarious larvae emerge, 1 month later. The larvae live in silk tents, develop through 5 instars, and descend to the ground during the winter. They pupate in the soil and undergo a diapause until the summer. In addition to these "winter populations", "summer populations" might also occur, with the larvae feeding during the summer months.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Pinienprozessionsspinner
Kiefernprozessionsspinner
• English: pine processionary moth
• Español: procesionaria de los pinos
• Français: processionnaire du pin

The adults have whitish wings with 2 dark bands across the forewings. Females have a wing-span of 4-5 cm, the males are smaller. The caterpillar may reach a length of about 5 cm and have long whitish or reddish hairs.

Synonyms:
Traumatocampa pityocampa

For details see the respective page in Wikipedia.

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