White shrouded tree.

Nick Greatorex-Davies ngd at ceh.ac.uk
Tue Jun 12 05:36:17 EDT 2001


Yes almost certainly one of the small ermine moths - Yponomeuta. there are eight in the genus in the UK. It partly depends what the bush is (was?) but the moth can be identified from the larvae. Adults may need dissecting (depending on species). a likely candidate is the Bird-cherry Ermine (Yponomeuta yvonymella), which can readily be identified as an adult. The larvae feed on more than just Bird-cherry (Prunus padus) but I don't have the books to hand to look up the alternative foodplants. This species does not eat Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) but some of the others do. Three species feed on Spindle (Euonymus europeaus) the most common being the Spindle Ermine (Y. cagnagella). I have seen whole sections of hedge (20-30m) defoliated and covered (similar to your photos) with the webbing of small ermine moths. A colleague of mine reported seeing large sections of hedge like this near Oxford in southern England a week or two ago.

The moths (basically white with many small black spots) are illustrated and described in volume 3 of the Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland (main editor Maitland Emmet).

Nick Greatorex-Davies
CEH Monks Wood, Huntingdon, UK 

P.S. Do you know of the email group ukmoths? It is a good place to send queries on uk moths. To 'subscibe' go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ukmoths/   and follow the instructions.

>>> "Tony Gartshore" <xxtony at evil-photographer.co.uk> 12/06/01 07:20:07 >>>
Hello all,

I wonder if one of could help me identify what's going on here?

I live in the south of England and just outside the village there is a
small tree./ bush at the side of the road which seems to have been
attacked by the artist Christo.
It appears to be wrapped in a thick white shroud...  The shroud, although
obviously animal in origin,  is like thickish polyethelyne sheet, very
tough, dry to the touch and not at all sticky.

There are lots of caterpillars crawling around inside..

Pictures at : http://www.compton-village.org.uk/Shrouded%20tree.htm 

Can anyone identify the culprits ?




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