Pine moth

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Pine moth
Pine moth (Dendrolimus pini), ♂

Pine moth ( Dendrolimus pini ), ♂

Class : Insects (Insecta)
Order : Butterflies (Lepidoptera)
Family : Huckling (Lasiocampidae)
Subfamily : Lasiocampinae
Genre : Dendrolimus
Type : Pine moth
Scientific name
Dendrolimus pini
( Linnaeus , 1758)

The pine moth ( Dendrolimus pini ) is a butterfly ( moth ) from the mother hen family (Lasiocampidae).


The moths reach a wingspan of 50 to 80 millimeters, with the females being larger than the males. Their coloration is very variable and varies between light gray, fox red and black-brown. On the forewings they have three jagged, dark brown cross bars, whereby the areas delimited by the bars can have a different color. They have a small, white point close to the band that is closest to the base of the wing. The males have long and feathery antennae, while those of the females are short and comb-toothed. The legs are hairy. The hind wings have more or less the same coloring as the forewings.

After hatching, the approximately five millimeter long caterpillars are pale yellow and covered with dark blue to black, relatively long hairy warts. After the first moult, the drawing hardly changes any more. The caterpillars are about 70 millimeters long. They have a gray-brown or yellowish-gray basic color and light-edged, diamond-shaped spots on the back. On the sides they have thick, light tufts of hair and brown vertical stripes. When the caterpillars are worried, they turn out two metallic blue hair pads from the breast segments on the back.

The doll is dark brown to black in color and about 30 millimeters long and 9 millimeters wide.


  • Dendrolimus pini cederensis ( Daniel , 1939)
  • Dendrolimus pini iberica ( Schawerda , 1926)
  • Dendrolimus pini pini ( Linnaeus , 1758)
  • Dendrolimus pini schultzeana ( Rebel , 1934)


The animals occur in almost all of Europe , except parts of the Iberian Peninsula , the far north and Great Britain , east to East Asia . They live in pine forests, preferring forests with sandy soils and a continental climate . In the past, they tended to multiply, but they are now only isolated, but not uncommon. Extensive studies on large mass reproductions, such as in the pine forests near Wiener Neustadt , have been carried out again and again.

Way of life

Adult pine moth caterpillar

Both males and females are nocturnal.

Flight and caterpillar times

The moths fly from the beginning of June to mid-August, the caterpillars are found from August to June of the following year.

Food of the caterpillars

Without exception, the caterpillars feed on the needles of conifers , whereby they are mainly found on Scots pine ( Pinus sylvestris ) and other types of pine , but they also feed on spruce ( Picea abies ) and silver fir ( Abies alba ).


The pairing, which can take place several times, takes place at night, the partners sit with their heads turned away and vertically. The day after mating, the females lay their elongated, yellowish eggs in small groups of up to 30 on the needles of their forage plants. But the female also lays eggs in the following days. The caterpillars hatch 13 to 18 days after being laid and feed until November, depending on the temperature. They develop at different speeds, which is why they hibernate in different stages of moulting, curled up on the ground, in the litter. They usually crawl close to the trunk under moss and needles. They are active early next spring and are then fully grown from March to June. The caterpillars eat mostly in the last molting stage, but they do not eat anything 2–5 days before molting. Occasionally the caterpillars overwinter twice. They pupate in an elongated, yellowish cocoon on the branches of their forage plants between needles. The caterpillars that pupate early stay longer in the pupa than the caterpillars that pupate late, with males staying in the pupa less long than females.


Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f Heiko Bellmann : The new Kosmos butterfly guide. Butterflies, caterpillars and forage plants. Franckh-Kosmos, Stuttgart 2003, ISBN 3-440-09330-1 , p. 80.
  2. a b c d The butterflies of Germany with special consideration of their biology , p. 205
  3. a b c d Dendrolimus pini (Linnaeus 1758). Fauna Europaea, Version 1.3, April 19, 2007 , accessed on December 26, 2007 .
  4. Hans-Josef Weidemann, Jochen Köhler: Moths. Weirdos and hawkers. Naturbuch-Verlag, Augsburg 1996, ISBN 3-89440-128-1 , pp. 106f.
  5. Franz Kramlinger, Dendrolimus pini L. from the pine forests near Wiener-Neustadt , Entomological Association "Sphinx", Vienna 1913 panel ( Memento of the original from October 17, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  6. Else Jahn, On the appearance of the pine moth 1962/1963 in Steinfeld in Lower Austria , Journal for Applied Entomology, Volume 54, 1964
  7. a b Manfred Koch : We identify butterflies. Volume 2: Bears, Spinners, Swarmers and Drills in Germany. 2nd, expanded edition. Neumann, Radebeul / Berlin 1964, DNB 452481929 .


  • Walter Weckwerth: The pine moth and its enemies . 2nd, unchanged edition. The new Brehm library, issue 65. Westarp-Wissenschaften-Verlags-Gesellschaft, Hohenwarsleben 2004, 40 pages, ISBN 3-89432-551-8
  • Fritz Schwerdtfeger : Fight the pine moth. Introduction to the way of life and control of the pine moth (Dendrolimus pini L.) . Neumann, Radebeul and Berlin 1949, 40 pp.
  • Karl Eckstein: The butterflies of Germany with special consideration of their biology. KG Lutz, Stuttgart, ISBN 978-1176106437 ( Read Online )

Web links

Commons : Pine Moth  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Pine moth  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations