Leucoma salicis (Lymantriidae)

the satin moth


A white moth with a satiny luster on wings and body. Eyes and legs black. Wingspread 37 to 50 mm.

Leucoma salicis, the satin moth, adult female moth. female moth
Leucoma salicis, the satin moth, adult male moth; note the feathery bipectinate antennae. male moth with feathery antennae


Leucoma salicis larva Mature larvae are about 50 mm long, blackish with white marks along the back. Each segment bears several reddish tubercles with tuffs of long hair.


Damage caused to Populus leaf by Leucoma salicis larva feeding. A native of Europe, this insect was discovered in both New England and southwestern British Columbia in 1920. In B.C. it was considered of economic importance primarily due to the damage it caused on shade and park trees. However, outbreaks had occurred on stands of trembling aspen and black cottonwood.

Young larvae skeletonize large leaves during the latter part of summer. They overwinter as second instars, resuming feeding in spring. At this time, maturing larvae consume large portions of new leaves. Repeated heavy defoliation over several years results in topkill and tree mortality.

Principal Hosts:

Feeding occurs on native Populus species, trembling aspen and black cottonwood as well as the exotics, silver poplar and Lombardy poplar.

Economic Importance:

Pressure by native enemies and four introduced parasites has reduced satin moth populations substantially. Damage is now restricted to small areas.

References and Links:

FC: 229, FPL 38.

See HForest and JP17.

Additional Images:

pupae larvae eggs