The buff ermine (Spilarctia luteum) is a moth of the family Arctiidae. It is sometimes placed in the genus Spilosoma. It is found throughout the temperate belt of the Palearctic region south to northern Turkey, Georgia, Kazakhstan, southern Siberia (excluding Buryatia), Eastern Mongolia, Amur Region, China, Korea and Japan.
The wings of this species are buffish yellow (the males tend to be more yellow in colour than the females) and are typically marked with a diagonal row of dark spots on the forewing and a few other scattered spots on both forewings and hindwings. The extent of black markings varies considerably, however, from almost spotless examples to largely black melanic forms. The wingspan is 34–42 mm. The species flies from May to July
Recorded food plants
- Alnus - alder
- Mentha - mint
- Plantago - plantain
- Quercus - oak
- Rheum - rhubarb
- Ribes - currant
- Rubus - raspberry
- Rumex - dock/sorrel
- Senecio - ragwort
- Urtica - nettle
- Spilarctia lutea lutea
- Spilarctia lutea adzharica Dubatolov, 2007 (Georgia)
- Spilarctia lutea japonica (Rothschild, 1910) (Middle Amur, Primorye, southern Sakhalin, southern Kuril Islands, eastern China, Korea, Japan)
- Spilarctia lutea rhodosoma (Turati, 1907) Sicily, the black of the upperside is increased by a larger number of the spots; but especially distinguished by the bright red abdomen.
References and notes
- in the British Isles and is attracted to light. This may vary in other parts of the range.
- Chinery, MichaelCollins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe 1986 (Reprinted 1991)
- Skinner, Bernard Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles 1984
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