Spilosoma urticae

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Water ermine
Spilosoma urticae FvL.jpg
Spilosoma urticae.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Erebidae
Genus: Spilosoma
Species: S. urticae
Binomial name
Spilosoma urticae
(Esper, 1789)
  • Phalaena Bombyx urticae Esper, 1789
  • Phalaena Bombyx papyratia Marsham, 1791
  • Spilosoma sangaica Walker, [1865]
  • Spilosoma mandli Schawerda, 1922
  • Spilosoma urticae peralbata Dannehl, 1928

Spilosoma urticae, the water ermine, is a moth of the family Erebidae. It is found in temperate belt of the Palearctic ecozone like similar Spilosoma lubricipedum, but prefer more dry biotopes. So, S. urticae is more abundant in steppes and it is the single Spilosoma species in Central Asia.

The wingspan is 38–46 mm. The length of the forewings is 18–22 mm. Hindwings always without black dots. Antennae branches are very short in males, they are equal and not more than twice longer than the antenna stem diameter (this is the best distinguishing character from Spilosoma lubricipeda). The moth flies April to October depending on the location.

The larvae feed on Rumex hydrolapathum, Mentha aquatica, Iris pseudacorus, Lysimachia vulgaris, Jacobaea vulgaris and Pedicularis sylvatica.

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