Euthrix potatoria

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Euthrix potatoria
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Lasiocampidae
Genus: Euthrix
E. potatoria
Binomial name
Euthrix potatoria
  • Philudoria potatoria

Euthrix potatoria, the drinker, is an orange-brown moth of the family Lasiocampidae.[1]

The species' common and scientific names derive from the larva's supposed drinking of drops of dew.[2]


The scientific name Euthryx potatoria was given to this moth by Carl Linnaeus in 1758. In choosing the name potatoria ‘drinker-like’, he was inspired by the Dutch entomologist Johannes Goedaert, who had called the animal dronckaerdt ‘drunkard’ “because it is very much inclined to drinking”.[3] This remark refers to the moth's habit of repeatedly plunging its head into the water.[4] The English name drinker (moth) also refers to Goedaert's analogy.


Subspecies include:[1]

  • Euthrix potatoria mikado Bryk
  • Euthrix potatoria potatoria (Linnaeus, 1758)

Distribution and habitat[edit]

This species can be found in Europe.[5] The species is fairly common in the southern half of Britain.[citation needed] In Scotland, it is common in the west but not in the east of the country.[6] It is most frequently found in marshy places, fens and riversides but may also be seen in drier, grassy terrain.[7][8]


In a recent survey[citation needed] to determine the status of all macro moths in Britain this species was classified as common.



The imago has a wingspan of 45–65 mm. The yellowish females are slightly larger than the orange-brown male but both sexes usually show the two distinctive white spots on the forewing.[8] Females have slightly serrated antennae, while male have deeply combed antennae.[9]

Larvae and pupae[edit]

The fully grown larva is about 6 cm long, hairy, striped and spotted, with distinctive tufts fore and aft. Larvae hibernate while young and resume feeding in the spring, pupating in a cocoon during the summer.[7]


This nocturnal moth flies from June to August depending on the location. Males especially are attracted to light.[7][8] The females lay their eggs in small clusters, mainly on the stem of grasses or reeds.[9] The larvae feed on various grasses and reeds (Alopecurus, Deschampsia, Dactylis, Elytrigia, Carex, Luzula and other Gramineae).[10]



  1. ^ a b Biolib
  2. ^ "The Drinker Euthrix potatoria". UK Moths. Retrieved 18 June 2014.
  3. ^ Goedaert, J. (1660), Metamorphosis naturalis. Middelburgh: Jaques Fierens (p. 47).
  4. ^ Beelen, H., & Van der Sijs, N. (2018). Natneus, molenaar, hypocriet. Insectennamen uit de zeventiende eeuw. Onze Taal, 2018(7/8), 26-27.
  5. ^ Fauna europaea
  6. ^ NMRS map
  7. ^ a b c Ford, R.L.E. (1963). Larger British Moths. Frederick Warne.
  8. ^ a b c UK Moths
  9. ^ a b Wildliifeinsight[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ Paolo Mazzei, Daniel Morel, Raniero Panfili Moths and Butterflies of Europe and North Africa

External links[edit]