Blue head (butterfly)

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Bluehead (Diloba caeruleocephala) in Nordisk familjebok

Bluehead ( Diloba caeruleocephala ) in Nordisk familjebok

Order : Butterflies (Lepidoptera)
Superfamily : Noctuoidea
Family : Owl butterfly (Noctuidae)
Subfamily : Dilobinae
Genre : Diloba
Type : Bluehead
Scientific name of the  subfamily
Aurivillius , 1889
Scientific name of the  genus
Boisduval , 1840
Scientific name of the  species
Diloba caeruleocephala
( Linnaeus , 1758)
Bluehead ( Diloba caeruleocephala )

The blue head ( Diloba caeruleocephala ), also called the spectacled bird, is a butterfly ( moth ) from the family of the owl butterflies (Noctuidae), which occurs in Europe and the neighboring areas. It owes its German name to the blue head of the otherwise conspicuously yellow-white-black colored caterpillar. The blue head is the only species in the genus Diloba , which in turn is the only genus in the subfamily Dilobinae .



The moths have a wingspan of 34 to 40 millimeters, with the males being on average slightly smaller than the females. The strongly combed antennae of the male and the thick, woolly hairy body of the female are rather untypical for owl butterflies, which is why the species (which also pupates in a cocoon ) was initially not classified in the owl butterfly family. The forewings are traversed by two strongly jagged, black transverse lines that are very close on the inner edge. The middle field enclosed by these serrated lines is dark brown, the field from the root to the first serrated line is red-brown. The field between the hem and the outer serrated line is usually still dark brown at the point of contact with the serrated line and quickly turns light gray towards the edge. The two greenish-yellow blemishes flowing into each other touch the kidney blemishes and form a bright, upright figure eight. Hence the name “Figure of Eight” in English. The flaws are usually more or less clearly dark. At the level of the kidney flaws and still within the midfield, there is a narrow, alternating dark brown and white zone that runs directly parallel to the front edge. The hind wings of the males are whitish, those of the females are gray. Most of the time, the middle and outer transverse line and the disk patch are clearly developed.


The egg is hemispherical and initially white; later it becomes yellowish and is yellowish brown right before hatching. When fresh it has 13 to 16 wide, greenish longitudinal ribs.


The caterpillars are relatively thick in all stages, relatively short and round in cross section. The egg caterpillar is light to dark brown and has long bristles on the entire top of the body. The second caterpillar stage is black with yellow back lines. The head is cream-colored with two black, dorsal stripes. The third stage of the caterpillar is blue-gray with yellowish, subdorsal bands. The head is now gray-blue with two large black spots. The penultimate stage is similar to the third caterpillar stage. In the last stage of the caterpillar, the caterpillar is greenish to bluish and has a row of yellow spots on the back and on the side, which in some specimens are so close together that they result in almost three longitudinal stripes. The caterpillar has black warts with individual bristles all over its body. The head is blue with two black dots. The adult caterpillar becomes up to 40 millimeters long.


The doll is relatively short and fat. It is red-brown with a slight shade of blue. At the rear end there are two lateral projections, each with four bristles.

Geographical distribution and habitat

The species is found in almost all of Europe with the exception of northern Scandinavia, the northern part of the British Isles and northern Russia . In the south it occurs in North Africa to the Middle East (Lebanon, Israel and Jordan) and in Asia Minor to Iran and Kazakhstan . But it is largely absent in Portugal. The main focus of the distribution is in southern Europe . In Central Europe , the species is widespread in the mountains up to around 1,000 meters, but not often. There it lives mainly on the edges of forests and in bushes, but also on orchards and in vineyards.

Way of life

One generation of the nocturnal moth flies in Central Europe from the end of August to November, so it belongs to the so-called "autumn owls". Several generations can be formed in warmer regions. He is drawn to the light and sits on tree trunks or walls during the day. Under optimal temperature conditions, the moths mate about three days after hatching. After another three days, the eggs are laid. They are deposited on the food plants in groups of a minimum of 12 to a maximum of 155 eggs. In Central Europe, the egg overwinters, in warmer regions also the butterfly. In spring the caterpillars appear on woody rose plants mainly on sloes ( Prunus spinosa ), as well as apples ( Malus ), single hawthorn ( Crataegus monogyna ), plums ( Prunus domestica ), padus , pears ( Pyrus ), white berries ( Sorbus ), Willows ( Salix ), oaks ( Quercus ), poplars ( Populus ), hazel ( Corylus ) etc. a. The egg caterpillars feed on the buds and the underside of fresh leaves, while the older caterpillars eat the leaves. In Turkey, the species can cause noticeable harmful effects on almond, apple, pear, peach, apricot, plum and cherry trees through mass reproduction. The caterpillar makes a glued cocoon that is attached to solid ground in the ground, in crevices or in bark.


The systematic classification of Diloba caeruleocephala is complicated and has changed several times. Within the taxonomic system of butterflies the type has been the owls moths tooth spinners (Notodontidae) Trägspinnern (Lymantriidae) and the owl spinners assigned (Thyratirinae). Kitching (1984) provides an overview of taxonomic history.

The populations in the Middle East, Asia Minor, Iran and Kazakhstan are excreted as a separate subspecies Diloba caeruleocephala armena Staudinger, 1871.

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d Fibiger et al. (2009: p. 26/7)
  2. a b c Halil Bolu & İnanç Özgen: Life History and Biology of Diloba caeruleocephala (Figure of Eight) (Lepidoptera; Noctuidae). Belgian Journal of Zoology, 137 (2): 133–136, Gent 2007 ISSN  0777-6276 PDF ( Memento of the original of October 18, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link has been inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. Günter Ebert (Ed.): The Butterflies of Baden-Württemberg Volume 4, Moths II (Bombycidae, Endromidae, Lasiocampidae, Lemoniidae, Saturniidae, Sphingidae, Drepanidae, Notodontidae, Dilobidae, Lymantriidae, Ctenuchidae, Nolidae). Ulmer Verlag Stuttgart 1994. ISBN 3-8001-3474-8
  4. ^ IJ Kitching: An historical review of the higher classification of the Noctuidae (Lepidoptera). Bull. Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Ent. Ser., 49: 153-234


  • Heiko Bellmann : The new Kosmos butterfly guide. Butterflies, caterpillars and forage plants. Franckh-Kosmos, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-440-09330-1 .
  • Michael Fibiger, László Ronkay, Axel Steiner & Alberto Zilli: Noctuidae Europaeae Volume 11 Pantheinae, Dilobinae, Acronictinae, Eustrotiinae, Nolinae, Bagisarinae, Acontiinae, Metoponiinae, Heliothinae and Bryophilinae. 504 pp., Entomological Press, Sorø 2009 ISBN 978-87-89430-14-0
  • Walter Forster , Theodor A. Wohlfahrt : The butterflies of Central Europe. Volume 4: Owls. (Noctuidae). Franckh'sche Verlagshandlung, Stuttgart 1971, ISBN 3-440-03752-5 .

Web links

Commons : Blue head ( Diloba caeruleocephala )  - Collection of images, videos and audio files