Saturnia pyri Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775


Saturnia pyri: Adult [S] Saturnia pyri: Adult [S] Saturnia pyri: Adult [S] Saturnia pyri: Adult (Northern Greece) [S] Saturnia pyri: Adult (Northern Greece) [S] Saturnia pyri: Ovum (Northern Greece) [S] Saturnia pyri: Eggs on a Pyrus leaf (Samos, May 2013) [N] Saturnia pyri: L1-larva (e.o. Samos) [S] Saturnia pyri: L1-larva (e.o. Samos 2009) [S] Saturnia pyri: Young larva (e.o. Samos 2009) [S] Saturnia pyri: Young larva [S] Saturnia pyri: Young larva [S] Saturnia pyri: Half-grown larva (e.o. Samos 2009) [S] Saturnia pyri: Half-grown larva (e.o. Samos) [S] Saturnia pyri: Half-grown larva (e.o. Samos) [S] Saturnia pyri: Larva after the last moult (e.o. Samos) [S] Saturnia pyri: Larva after the last moult (e.o. Samos) [S] Saturnia pyri: Larva (e.o. Samos) [S] Saturnia pyri: Larva (Northern Greece, Chalkidiki, July 2006) [N] Saturnia pyri: Larva (Northern Greece, Chalkidiki, July 2006) [N] Saturnia pyri: Larva on its way prior to pupation (Northern Greece) [N] Saturnia pyri: Larva on its way prior to pupation (Northern Greece) [N] Saturnia pyri: Larva on its way prior to pupation (Pindos, Northern Greece, late July 2012) [N] Saturnia pyri: Cocoon (Northern Greece) [S] Saturnia pyri: Pupa in the cocoon (Northern Greece) [S] Saturnia pyri: Larva on a Pyrus tree (Chalkidiki, July 2006) [N] Saturnia pyri: Habitat in Northern Greece: small Pyrus trees [N] Saturnia pyri: Habitat in Northern Greece: Pyrus trees in dry grasslands  [N] Saturnia pyri: Habitat in Samos: extensively managed man-made landscape with single fruit trees. [N]

Host plants:
The caterpillar lives on deciduous trees and shrubs, especially Rosaceae. Most important are often wild Pyrus species, e.g. in Greece.

Habitat:
Saturnia pyri inhabits warm slopes with open scrub and other wood-rich locations. It is also found in orchards, when not spraying insecticides.

Life cycle:
The pupa overwinters in the cocoon, often more than once. The moths fly from April to June and lay eggs singly or in small groups on thin branches or leaves. In Northern Greece I found many larvae and cocoons only on a thorny, wild Pyrus species (Pyrus spinosa). Under the infected trees, the ground was littered with large droppings. Mostly I found between 1 and 3 larvae per bush. A portion of the cocoons is apparently applied on the tree trunk base on the bark. But another part of the larvae moves before pupation in a wider circumcircle, as several observations of also flattened caterpillars on roads show. In Samos, I found eggs in early May on the upper side of a leaf on a planted pear tree.

Endangerment factors:
Saturnia pyri is endangered in the north (Valais, Ticino, southern Austria, Alsace) by the removal of scrubs in the landscape and the intensification in orchards (insecticid use). But in the south, e.g. in Greece, the moth is still quite common.

Remarks:
Saturnia pyri is lacking in Germany, though sometimes single adults are reported which migrated probably from nearby France, particularly in the Saarland, where temporary reproduction is possible. Perhaps Saturnia pyri could expand its range with global warming.

Saturnia pyri occurs from North Africa across southern and the more southern Central Europe (Southern Alps, Alsace etc.) to western Asie (Iran).



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