Penthophera morio (Linnaeus, 1767)


Penthophera morio: Male (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Male (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Male (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Male (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Male (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Male (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Male (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Male (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Male (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Female (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Female (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Female (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Female (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Female (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Female, the whitish hair near the tip of the abdomen are transferred into the egg cocoon (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Mating (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Mating (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Mating (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Oviposition (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Egg batch (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Egg batch, artificially opened (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Larva in the first instar (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Larva in the first instar (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Larva in the second instar (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Larva in the hibernating instar (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Larva in the hibernating instar (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Aggregation of half-grown larvae (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Aggregation of half-grown larvae (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Aggregation of half-grown larvae (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Aggregation of half-grown larvae (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Half-grown larvae (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Half-grown larvae (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Half-grown larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Half-grown larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Half-grown larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Half-grown larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Half-grown larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Half-grown larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Half-grown larva on Carex (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Half-grown larva on Carex (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Male larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Male larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Male larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Male larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Male larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Female larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Female larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Female larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Female larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Female larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Female larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Female larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Female larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Female larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Female larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Female larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Female larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Female larva (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larva constructing the cocoon (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larva constructing the cocoon (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larva constructing the cocoon (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Male pupa (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Male pupa (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Male pupa (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Female pupa (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Female pupa (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Female pupa (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Female pupa (e.l. rearing, Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, larva in early May 2017) [S] Penthophera morio: Larval habitat (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larval habitat (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larval habitat (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larval habitat (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larval habitat (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larval habitat (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larval habitat (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larval habitat (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larval habitat, river Danube in the background (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larval habitat (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larval habitat (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N] Penthophera morio: Larval habitat (Lower Austria, Klein-P÷chlarn, early May 2017) [N]

Host plants:
The larvae feed on various grasses (especially Poaceae, more rarely also Cyperaceae). Near Klein-P÷chlarn (Lower Austria) the larvae could be recorded feeding on nearly all available grasses (Festuca sp., Bromus erectus, Brachypodium pinnatum, Dactylis glomerata, Poa pratensis, Carex sp. etc.).

Habitat:
Penthophera morio inhabits extensively managed grasslands (humid to dry), grassy embankments and similar places. Fallow land with still little bush encroachment usually shows the highest caterpillar densities. Still mown or grazed grasslands, however, are safer in a long-term sense. Because of the wingless females and strong changes in abundances Penthophera morio should need large habitats.

Life cycle:
The half-grown larvae hibernate in a special winter skin and are mature in April and May (singly also later). They sometimes rest in larger numbers on dead leaves, bark or dead grasses near the ground, especially when moulting. The cocoons are constructed in the vegetation, e.g. on large leaves which are spun together upwards. The males fly between late April and June during daytime (presumably also at night). The females lay egg batches (usually one egg batch per female) mixed with their abdominal hair in the vegetation.

Endangerment factors:
Penthophera morio is easily pushed back by agricultural intensification. Thus it is already restricted to the few remaining larger patches with still traditional management.

Remarks:
Penthophera morio occurs especially in Southeastern parts of Central and Eastern Europe (E-Austria, NE-Italy, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria etc.). The populations in S-Bavaria and W-Austria have already become extinct in the early 1960s.