Seq # 900450060

Cucullia lactucae (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775) Species

Last modified: July 16, 2022, 10:37 a.m.

This very rare species is found so far only a few times in our country and each time as a single caterpillar. During August 2019 many caterpillars were found in LX in the regio around Libin, where a stable population is probably present. Despite the brightly colored and easily recognizable caterpillars, this species is rarely found in the southern part of Belgium.


Family: Noctuidae > Subfamily: Cuculliinae > Genus: Cucullia > Species: Cucullia lactucae
Vernacular names
Sla-monnik (NL), La Cucullie de la Laitue (FR), Lattich-Mönch (DE)
First mention in Belgium
Sibille J. 1912a. Captures et observations à Lamorteau-Torgny-lez-Virton au cours des deux étés derniers. — Revue mensuelle de la Société entomologique namuroise 12: 34–35. On page 35. view page




Wingspan 44–53 mm.
On the thorax a crest of long grey hairs in the shape of a hood (the cuculus of which the genus Cucullia takes its name), whose anterior point overhangs the head. Forewings grey, with veins delicately enhanced with dark and diffuse transverse bands.

Museum specimens

Specimens in nature


Reaches 50 mm. Whitish, with dorsal and bright orange-yellow lateral bands, separated by a subdorsal row of large black spots. It lives uncovered on its host plant; the vivid coloring of her dress, which is obviously aposematic, is supposed to indicate to a possible predator a probable unpleasant taste.


The caterpillar feeds preferentially on the flower buds, flowers and immature fruits of its host plant and attacks the leaves only after they have been depleted. Pupation takes place in an underground cocoon. The pupation period can sometimes extend to several consecutive years.
The adult, of nocturnal manners, becomes active from dusk onwards, rarely comes to light, as do those of most Cucullia species. During the day, it hides on the barks or on the stems, where its discrete livery makes it almost invisible.

Flight periods

The adults fly in one generation a year: from late May till early August with a peak from mid-June till mid-July.

Observed on

Host plant (species):
Prenanthes purpurea
Host plant (genera):
Sonchus, Lactuca and Hieracium

The larva lives on different species of Asreraceae like: Sonchus , Lactuca, Hieracium or Prenanthes purpurea.

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Especially in shaded to semi-shaded biotopes, particularly in various types of woodland and their edges, forest paths, clearcuts, but also in ruderal areas.

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