Cucullia lucifuga (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)


Cucullia lucifuga: Adult (Austria, Bregenzer Wald near Damüls, June 2012) [M] Cucullia lucifuga: Adult (Austria, Bregenzer Wald near Damüls, June 2012) [M] Cucullia lucifuga: Adult (e.l. Allgaeu Alps) [S] Cucullia lucifuga: Adult (e.l. Allgaeu Alps) [S] Cucullia lucifuga: Half-grown larva (Allgaeu Alps) [M] Cucullia lucifuga: Half-grown larva [M] Cucullia lucifuga: Larva (Allgaeu) [M] Cucullia lucifuga: Larva, lateral (Allgäu) [M] Cucullia lucifuga: Larva [S] Cucullia lucifuga: Larva (Hinterstein, German Alps, August 2012) [M] Cucullia lucifuga: Head (Hinterstein, German Alps, August 2012) [M] Cucullia lucifuga: Typical larval habitats in the Alpes are not too dry pastures (Allgaeu Alps in Germany, 1500m asl, August 2012) [N]

Host plants:
The larvae are oligophagous on rather low growing Asteraceae such as Taraxacum and Leontodon.

Habitat:
Cucullia lucifuga is typical of extensive meadows and pastures. Typical habitats are fresh, flower-rich and not too nutrient-poor, extensively grazed grasslands, for instance in the northern Alps. I found caterpillars in the so-called Nagelfluhkette (German Alps near Immenstadt) on grassy slopes and alpine meadows at 1600 meters above sea level.

Life cycle:
The pupa hibernates in a dense cocoon in the ground. The moths fly from May to August with a focus on the end of June to mid-July, with occasionally a very partial second generation in August/September. Most caterpillars are found in July and August. They live quite concealed when fully-grown, but are occasionally seen when crossing roads in the sun.

Endangerment: endangered

Endangerment factors:
Since extensive meadows decrease more and more and degenerate into dandelion manure fields, where almost nothing can exist on, Cucullia lucifuga is highly endangered. The situation is still better in the Alps - even if the lower valleys are devastated more and more in a ecological point of view.

Remarks:
The total distribution ranges from Europe (mainly in the mountains of Central Europe) to eastern Asia (Japan).



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