Euproctis chrysorrhoea

Euproctis chrysorrhoea L.

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Lepidoptera, Erebidae.

Common name: The brown-tail moth.

Morphology:Larvae basically black, with red markings on mid-abdominal dorsum and pale lateral protuberances bearing numerous long dark hairs. Thorax mostly brownish, head black. Adult body mainly white, posterior segments gradually becoming brownish, tip of abdomen broader, with many brown hairs (thus “brown-tail moth). Wings white with a few brown spots on the anterior pair.

Geographical distribution: Europe, North Africa, Asia and North America. Recent studies indicate that E. chrysorrhoea has several host-races in Europe.

Host plants: Polyphagous, known to feed on trees and shrubs of 13 plant families.

Life cycle: Euproctis chrysorrhoea is univoltine. Females lay 200–400 eggs, in masses, on the underside of host-plant leaves. The larvae emerge In late summer, feed gregariously and in autumn construct communal winter nests, wherein they overwinter, in diapause.They resume feeding in early April, retaining their winter nests for resting. Upon reaching later instars, the colonies break up, the larvae disperse and feed independently. They pupate in June, the non-feeding adults appear about a month later; mate, and lay eggs.

Economic and medical importance: This species is an important defoliator of various economic and ornamental trees. In Turkey it occurs in cycles, with a population increase every 3-4 years, which results in much damage to orchards and broad-leaved forests. In addition, the larval hairs can cause severe skin rashes as well as affect the eyes, rarely even causing blindness. Euproctis chrysorrhoea is therefore considered a public health risk.


Chemical control: Treatments with essential oils from Lamiaceae, such as Origanum onites L., provided satisfactory control of the larvae.

Biological control: Diverse natural enemies were noted in different regions. In Spain various stages of the pest are attacked by 17 species of parasitoids (including Meteorus versicolor and Trichogramma spp.). However, their efficacy may be reduced by considerable hyperparasitism. In Turkey the pest is attacked by the tachinid Compsilura concinnata (Meigen). Predatory beetles were found in Turkey, and in England a polyhedrosis virus caused 92% mortality in in one population,


Blair, C.P. 1979. The browntail moth, its caterpillar and their rash. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology 4:215-222.

Candan, S., Suludere, Z. and Bayrakdar, F. 2007. Surface morphology of eggs of Euproctis chrysorrhoea (Linnaeus, 1758). Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 88: 133-136.

Elkinton, J.S., Parry, D. and Boettner, G.H. 2006. Implicating an introduced generalist parasitoid in the invasive browntail moth’s enigmatic demise. Ecology 87: .2664-2672

Erler, F. and Cetin, H. 2009. Components from the essential oils from two Origanum species as larvicides against Euproctis chrysorrhoea (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae). Journal of Agricultural and Urban Entomology 26: 31-40.

Frago, E., Pujade-Villar, J., Guara, M. and Selfa, J. 2012. Hyperparasitism and seasonal patterns of parasitism as potential causes of low top-down control in Euproctis chrysorrhoea L. (Lymantriidae). Biological Control 60:123-131.

Frankhanel, H. 1958. Meteorus versicolor Wesm. als Parasit von Euproctis chrysorrhoea L. und Thaumetopoea processionea und seine Einsatzmoglichkeiten. Transactions, First International Conference of Insect Pathology and Biological Control, Praha 1958, 415-420.

Marques, J.F., Wang, H.L., Svensson, G.P., Frago, E. and Anderbrant, O. 2014. Genetic divergence and evidence for sympatric host-races in the highly polyphagous brown tail moth, Euproctis chrysorrhoea (Lepidoptera: Erebidae). Evoutionary Ecololgy 28: 829–848.

Öncüer, C., Yalcan,E. and Erkin, E 1978. The natural enemies of pupae of Euproctis chrysorrhoea L. and their efficacy which is harmful on fruit trees in Aegean Region of Turkey. Turkish Entomoloji Dergis 2: 31-36 (in Turkish with an English Abstract).

Schaefer, P.W., 1986. Bibliography of the browntail moth, Euproctis chrysorrhoea (L.) (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae) and its natural enemies. Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Delawaire Newark, Bulletin 464, 66 pp.

Sterling, P.H. and Speight, M.R. 2008. Comparative mortalities of the brown-tail moth, Euproctis chrysorrhoea (L.) (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae), in south-east England. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 101: 69-78.