Eggar Moths - Lasiocampidae

Eggar moths Lasiocampidae are fat bodied brown moths with large hairy caterpillars. Be a little careful of the caterpillars as the hairs are slightly irritant (but nowhere near as serious a problem as the Pine Processionary Thaumetopoea pityocampa).

Lackey Malacosoma neustria:
The moth is pale buff to brick red and active June to August in woods, hedges, gardens and orchards. It can sometimes be found in the streets of towns and villages. Caterpillars live in Hawthorns Crataegus spp, Blackthorn Prunus spinosa and other trees. It is less hairy than other Eggar caterpillars, but more brightly coloured as a warning to predators. The species is widespread and common. Below, a mature caterpillar in the Brenne, May.

Fox Moth Macrothylacia rubi
Females are pale grey brown. Adults active May to July. Found in heathland, open woods and hedges. Larvae velvet black with orange bands, feeding on bramble, heather and other low shrubs.
Fox Moth caterpillar in a garden near Bossay sur Claise.


  1. can these caterpillars be harmfully if children have held them?

  2. Kristin: some people can develop a rash after handling them, but it isn't serious. This applies to all hairy caterpillars, whether they are Lasiocampidae or not. The only caterpillar you are likely to encounter that is truly dangerous are those of the two processionary moth species, which are not related to Lasiocampidae (there is a link to them at the beginning of the post).