Seq # 650010005

Thaumetopoea pityocampa ([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775) Species

Last modified: Oct. 1, 2021, 10:22 a.m.

New to Belgium in 2021 in LX.


Family: Notodontidae > Subfamily: Thaumetopoeinae > Genus: Thaumetopoea > Species: Thaumetopoea pityocampa
Vernacular names
Dennenprocessierups (NL), Pine processionary (EN), La Processionnaire du Pin (FR), Pinien-Prozessionsspinner (DE)




Museum specimens

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Specimens in nature


The cylindrical egg masses range in length from 4 to 5 cm. They are covered with the scales of the female anal tuft, which mimics the pine shoots. Most eggs masses are laid on the peripheral shoots of the crown of the food plant.

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It gets its name from the caterpillars distinctive habit of moving about in nose-to-tail processions, this occur in late winter and early spring
Like its cousin, Thaumetopoea processionea, the caterpillars of this species also have thousands of tiny hairs which contain an urticating, or irritating, protein called thaumetopoein, giving rise to its scientific name. If these hairs come into contact with people and animals, they can cause painful skin, eye and throat irritations and rashes and, in some rare cases, allergic reactions.
The white, silken nests , which the caterpillars build among the foliage early in the year, are the most obvious sign of the pest’s presence, together with some defoliage of the trees later in the year.

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The caterpillars feed on the needles of pine trees and some other conifer tree species, and in large numbers they can severely defoliate trees.

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Flight periods

Adults are on the wing during July and August.

Observed on

Host plant (species):
Larix decidua
Host plant (genera):

The larva lives mainly on different species of Pinus, but also on Cedrus atlantica and Larix decidua.

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