- Certain members of the unrelated snout moths (Pyralidae) are also known as "ermine moths".
|Communal larval web|
The family Yponomeutidae are known as the ermine moths, with several hundred species, most of them in the tropics. The larvae tend to form communal webs, and some are minor pests in agriculture, forestry, and horticulture. Some of the adults are very attractive. Adult moths are minor pollinators.
Ermine moths are small to medium-sized moths varying in wingspan from 8 to 31 mm (0.3 to 1.2 in). The heads mostly have smooth scales, the haustellum is naked and the labial palps are curved upwards. The maxillary palps usually consist of one or two segments. The wings are long, often with fringes on the trailing edges of the hindwings. The colour is usually white, pale grey or drab, often with many dark speckles.
Adult ermine moths are mostly nocturnal. The larvae are leaf-webbers, leaf skeletonizers, leafminers or needleminers and are found on a variety of host plants. Some cause economic damage to crops and trees.
Better-known species include:
- Spindle ermine, Yponomeuta cagnagella
- Bird-cherry ermine, Yponomeuta evonymella
- Orchard ermine, Yponomeuta padella
- Yponomeuta plumbella
- Acmosara polyxena
- Apple ermine Yponomeuta malinellus
- Ailanthus webworm
- "The very hungry caterpillars: Thousands of moth larvae weave giant web over shrubbery to protect themselves and more importantly, their food, from predators". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 2014-09-22.
- Capinera, John L. (2008). Encyclopedia of Entomology. Springer Science & Business Media. pp. 1360–1361. ISBN 978-1-4020-6242-1.
- Westwood, J. O. (October 1837). Loudon, John Claudius, ed. "A series of Articles on the Insects most Injurious to Cultivators -- No. 8. The small Ermine Moth". The Gardener's magazine and register of rural and domestic improvement. 13: 434. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
- An invasion of caterpillars has city covered in webs, 25 May 2009, Dutch Daily News.
- Alien invasions, horror stories, or just the Ermine moth?, 17 June 2010, Natural History Museum.
- Caterpillars infesting trees in Lewes, 13 May 2011, Sussex Express.
- Ermine moth larvae infest Bradford park, 19 May 2011, BBC News Online.
- Web of intrigue on Jesus Green trees, 19 May 2011, Cambridge Evening News.
- Media related to Yponomeutidae at Wikimedia Commons