Arctia villica (Linnaeus, 1758)


Arctia villica: Male [S] Arctia villica: Male in resting posture (Valais, Switzerland) [S] Arctia villica: Adult (e.l. Vinschgau, South Tyrol 2012) [S] Arctia villica: Adult (e.l. Vinschgau, South Tyrol 2012) [S] Arctia villica: Female (Valais, Switzerland) [S] Arctia villica: Female [S] Arctia villica: Female in resting posture [S] Arctia villica: Male [S] Arctia villica: Ovae [S] Arctia villica: L1 [S] Arctia villica: Young larva [S] Arctia villica: Young larva in the third instar [S] Arctia villica: Half-grown larva [S] Arctia villica: Half-grown larva [S] Arctia villica: Larva [S] Arctia villica: Larva [M] Arctia villica: Larva [S] Arctia villica: Larva [S] Arctia villica: Larva [S] Arctia villica: Larva (Valais, Switzerland): typical are the red head and legs [M] Arctia villica: Larva (Valais, Switzerland) [N] Arctia villica: Larva (Valais, Switzerland) [N] Arctia villica: Larva (Vinschgau, South Tyrol, 17/03/2012) [M] Arctia villica: Larva [N] Arctia villica: Larva [S] Arctia villica: Pupa [S] Arctia villica: Larva in front of its hiding place (stone gaps, Valais) [N] Arctia villica: Habitat in Valais in April [N]

Host plants:
The species is polyphagous and feeds on herbs and lower parts of shrubs.

Habitat:
Arctia villica inhabits mostly bushy, hot slopes with nutrient-poor grasslands and stony to rocky areas as in the Nahe Valley in Germany. North of the Alps, Arctia villica is very exacting and rare. South of the Alps, however, it is almost an ubiquist. It rises to about 1600m in the Southern Alps, but is restricted in the north to elevations below 500m. Arctia villica is missing in the northern Alps and many parts of Central Europe completely.

Life cycle:
The moths fly in one generation. The caterpillars are fully-grown in April. In the south, I found, for example, in mid-May already adults at about 500m above sea level in the Valle di Susa (Italy) on a exreme hot slope interspersed with downy oak (Quercus pubescens) and dry grasslands, while at the same time still caterpillars were observed at 1000m in less xerothermic habitats. In mid-April 2009 in the Valais (Stalden), more than 20 mature caterpillars were observed on trails and next to their hiding places at the base of stone walls at the daytime. Pupation takes place partly under stones (observation at Leuk/Valais).

Endangerment: threatened with extinction

Endangerment factors:
In the north, Arctia villica is threatened by extinction due to habitat loss (succession after abandonment, overbuilding, intensification). Arctia villica still occurs only in very warm areas with a high proportion of suitable habitat as in the Nahe Valley.

South of the Alps, Arctia villica is still quite common and not endangered.

Remarks:
The distribution reaches from Spain to the Middle East. In Europe, Arctia villica is reaching its northern border in the middle regions of Germany, but is also reported from the Netherlands. But it misses also in large parts of Southern Germany, focusing its current distribution on the Middle Rhine/Nahe region.



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