Spiny oak slug

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Euclea delphinii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Limacodidae
Genus: Euclea
Species: E. delphinii
Binomial name
Euclea delphinii
(Gray, 1832)

The spiny oak slug (Euclea delphinii) is a moth in the family Limacodidae.

Life cycle[edit]

There is one generation a year in the most of the northern parts of its range, with caterpillars seen from late June to October (Wagner, 2005). Two generations or more from Missouri south.


Eggs are laid singly or in small clusters on leaves (Wagner, 2005).


The larva is flattened and ovoid in outline, with spiny tubercules along the back and sides. These are mildly stinging. The sides have craters ringed with black or white along them. In the final instar they usually have two to four sets of black hairs at the tail end, that can fall off, called 'caltrop' spines after the Roman defensive weapons. Colourful, but the colours vary enormously (Wagner, 2005). Like all limacodids, the legs are shortened and the prolegs are reduced to suction cups. Maximum length, 20 mm (Wagner, 2005).

Euclea delphini Larva Photographed By Shaina Noggle


Pupates in a cup-shaped cocoon with a circular escape hatch.


The small (1 cm) moth is 'hairy' and brown, with green patches on the upper wing. The underwing is a paler grey-brown.

Euclea delphini Moth Photographed By Shaina Noggle

Food plants[edit]

Eats a variety of deciduous trees and shrubs, not limited to: apple, ash, basswood, beech, birch, blueberry, cherry, chestnut, hackberry, hickory, maple, oak, poplar, sycamore and willow (Wagner, 2005).


  • Wagner, DL, 2005. Caterpillars of Eastern North America. Princeton University Press.

External links[edit]