Seq # 520010010

Poecilocampa populi (Linnaeus, 1758) Species

Last modified: Oct. 18, 2023, 3:19 p.m.

A rather common species throughout Belgium.


Family: Lasiocampidae > Subfamily: Poecilocampinae > Tribus: Poecilocampini > Genus: Poecilocampa > Species: Poecilocampa populi
Vernacular names
Zwarte herfstspinner (NL), December Moth (EN), Le Bombyx du Peuplier (FR), Kleine Pappelglucke (DE)
First mention in Belgium
De Sélys-Longchamps E. 1837. Catalogue des Lépidoptères ou Papillons de la Belgique, précédé du tableau des Libellulines de ce pays. — — : 1–29. On page 25 (as Bombyx Populi). view page




Museum specimens

Specimens in nature


The eggs are flat, oval and have a greyish brown colour with several dark brown or blackish dots, especially close to the edge. They are oviposited in small groups of about 10 eggs. The species hibernates in the egg stage.


Caterpillars are usually observed in mid-May when they are nearly full-grown and descend from the canopy in order to pupate. However, it has been observed also that caterpillars like to hide during daytime on the tree trunks, hiding in crevices, or along twigs and they crawl to the canopy during the night in order to feed. They have an overall greyish ground colour with several whitish markings. The colour and pattern is in most cases well adapted to the tree species on which the caterpillar lives.


Adults come readily to light.

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Flight periods

One generation per year, the adults fly from October till well in December.

Observed on

Deciduous trees

The larva lives on different deciduous trees from various families like Acer, Alnus, Betula, Corylus, Fagus, Fraxinus, Malus, Populus, Prunus, Quercus, Salix and Tilia.

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Mixed deciduous forests, parks with a lot of trees.

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