Arctia festiva (Hufnagel, 1766)


Arctia festiva: Female [S] Arctia festiva: Female [S] Arctia festiva: Adult, freshly emerged [S] Arctia festiva: Female-lower side [S] Arctia festiva: Male [S] Arctia festiva: Female (Askio mountains, Northern Greece, May 2011). Obviously the animal had a fight with a predator (perhaps bird) in which the wings have been damaged. [M] Arctia festiva: Ovae (Askio mountains 2011) [S] Arctia festiva: L1-larva (e.o. Askion, Northern Greece 2011) [S] Arctia festiva: L2-larva (e.o. Askion 2011) [S] Arctia festiva: Half-grown larva (e.o. Askion 2011) [S] Arctia festiva: Half-grown larva (e.o. Askion 2011) [S] Arctia festiva: Half-grown larva (e.o. Askion 2011) [S] Arctia festiva: Half-grown larva (e.o. Askion 2011) [S] Arctia festiva: Larva [S] Arctia festiva: Habitat in Northern Greece (female record): steppe-like slope in the Askio mountains, May 2011. [N]

Host plants:
The larvae are polyphagous.

Habitat:
Arctia festiva inhabits mostly rocky or stony grasslands and sandy fallow land in lowlands or medium high mountains (often less than 600m above sea level, in Southern Europe up to more than 1000m above sea level). Arctia festiva is a continental steppe species that needs summer heat and drought, but also can withstand cold winters.

Life cycle:
The moth flies in one generation from May to early July. In Askion Mountains (Northern Greece), I found a female in mid-May 2011. The caterpillar grows up in April or early May. It obviously aestivates in midsummer for several weeks.

Endangerment factors:
In Central Europe, Arctia festiva is already extinct due to habitat destruction. The economical useless fallow land habitats have been transferred into monetarily more meaningful usages (forestry, agriculture, overbuilding). But besides this main cause you should also consider, that natural fluctuations and climate may play a role with such species occurring at the very edge of their total distribution area.

Remarks:
The final observation in Germany was made in 1977 (East Germany). Today, the total distribution extends from Spain through Southern Europe to East Asia. In May 2011, I found Arctia festiva, for example, in Northern Greece in Askio Mountains near Siatista.



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