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Utetheisa pulchella (Crimson Speckled Moth /Benekli Güzel, Benekli Gündüz Güvesi)

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Utetheisa pulchella (Crimson Speckled Moth /Benekli Güzel, Benekli Gündüz Güvesi)


Utetheisa pulchella (Crimson Speckled Moth /Benekli Güzel, Benekli Gündüz Güvesi) from Geçitkoy (Panağra), Kyrenia/Girne, KKTC/TRN Cyprus - 24.10.08.

Utetheisa is a genus of Arctiidae family. The family includes stoutly or slender built, brighthly coloured moths (Tiger moths, Ermine moths, Footmen, etc.), usually hairy and often poisonous. The bold colours, especially on hing wings, warn birds of the unpalatability of these moths, although forewings often have cryptic patterns. The larvae are very hairy – many are known as “woolly bears- and usually feed on docks, dandelions, and other low-growing plants. The caterpillars of Utetheisa species feed on Crotalaria (rattlebox), and hence the moth genus is often called rattlebox moths. Utetheisa species are usually bright and colorful.

Crimson Speckled is a spectacular day-flying moth -Wingspan 29-42 mm- It is active between April and October with 2 or 3 broods in its southern distribution. It occurs naturally in the Mediterranean and North Africa (including India), migrating to Central Europe each spring. It is also a sporadic visitor to UK, and most immigrants are presumed to have originated from southern parts. Moths may turn up at any time during the summer or autumn. It prefers open and scrubby habitats. Hairy larva is grayish with white lines and black warts, and an orange band on each segment. It feeds mainly on forget-me-nots and borage. I encountered the adults in large numbers on Dittrichia viscosa (in my shot) and Mediterranean Heliotropes (Heliotropium hirsutissimum) in feeding with nectar during the day time around Geçitköy Lakelet (Kyrenia).

Reference: Chinery, M. (1986). Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe, Collins, Glasgow, 320 pp.


Author Bayram GÖÇMEN
Created on Friday 24 October 2008
Posted on Monday 18 July 2011
Tags CYPRUS / KIBRIS, Kyrenia / Girne
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