Heterogynis penella (Hübner, 1819)


Heterogynis penella: Male (e.l. Provence, France) [S] Heterogynis penella: Male (e.l. Provence, France) [S] Heterogynis penella: Male (Provence, France) [S] Heterogynis penella: Male (e.l. Valle di Susa, Italy) [S] Heterogynis penella: Female at the cocoon (e.l, Col de la Sine 2012) [S] Heterogynis penella: Female at the cocoon (e.l, Col de la Sine 2012) [S] Heterogynis penella: Female at the cocoon (e.l, Col de la Sine 2012) [S] Heterogynis penella: Female (e.l. Valle di Susa, Italy) [S] Heterogynis penella: Mating (Valle di Susa, Italy) [N] Heterogynis penella: Hibernation cocoons of the larva (e.l. Provence, France) [S] Heterogynis penella: Young larva (Provence, France, early April 2010) [M] Heterogynis penella: Half-grown larva (Provence, France) [M] Heterogynis penella: Half-grown larva at Prunus spinosa (Col de la Sine, April 2012) [N] Heterogynis penella: Half-grown larva [M] Heterogynis penella: Larva (Provence, France) [M] Heterogynis penella: Larva (Provence, France) [M] Heterogynis penella: Larva (Provence, France, late April 2011) [N] Heterogynis penella: Larva on Prunus spinosa (Col de la Sine, April 2012) [N] Heterogynis penella: Larva (Provence, France, late April 2011) [M] Heterogynis penella: Larva (Provence, France, late April 2011) [N] Heterogynis penella: Larva (Provence, France) [S] Heterogynis penella: Larva (Provence, France) [S] Heterogynis penella: Larva (Lac de Serre-Poncon, July 2012) [N] Heterogynis penella: Typical habitat in southern Francs: shrubb, dry grasslands in 1000m above sea level (April 2012, near Col de la Sine) [N] Heterogynis penella: Habitat at the Col de Vence (Southern France, April 2012) [N] Heterogynis penella: Habitat near the Lac de Serre-Poncon (Hautes-Alpes) where the larvae could be found at Fabaceae and Hippophaes (July 2012) [N]

Host plants:
In the Susa Valley and Provence, I found many caterpillars on Asteraceae (Centaurea), Fabaceae (many genres such as Dorycnium, Lotus and Onobrychis, if available often on broom species) and Cistaceae (Helianthemum), interestingly, all three host plant families of the related Zygaenidae. In Northern Greece I found Heterogynis larvae south of Smolikas (Pindos) feeding on Cirsium rosettes.

In sping/summer 2012 I observed further hostplants in the field in Southern France that are presumably not so important: Hippophaes rhamnoides at the lake Serre-Poncon (several feeding larvae in early July) and Prunus spinosa (feeding larvae together with those of Aglaope infausta on the Col de la Sine in late April).

Habitat:
Heterogynis penella occurs in hot, often rocky grasslands and fringes in dry forests from sea level to about 1500m. Most often, there are included also dry shrub (brooms, oak, Prunus etc.)

In Germany Heterogynis penella formerly occurred on warm slopes in the Middle Rhine and Nahe region.

Life cycle:
The moths fly from May to July/early August. The wingless, plump females lay their eggs inside the cocoon. The young caterpillars live inside the cocoon and eat the dead mother and so last the summer heat. The cocoons are often created quite high in the vegetation in order to escape the heat at ground level and to obtain a a better position to attract the males.

The caterpillars change to the host plants not until the end of August and in September. At the onset of winter the larvae construct dense, flat cocoons where they hibernate. These larval hibernation cocoons occasionally can be found quite frequent in the vegetation (e.g. January 2004 at the Massif de la Sainte Baume). The mature caterpillars are found from April to early June, sometimes even still in July (2012 at the Lac de Serre-Poncon) together with adults.

Endangerment factors:
Heterogynis penella is already extinct in its relict outpostin the Middle Rhine region. Otherwise Heterogynis penella still occurs in Central Europe only in Alsace (very local).

Southwest of the Alps (north-west Italy, Southern France), however, Heterogynis penella is often quite abundant in grasslands and maquis.
In southern Europe however, there are several closely related species of this genus.



Heterogynis canalensis 
German version / deutsche Version