Notodontidae : Thaumetopoeinae
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Photo © Ben Sale,  Stevenage, Hertfordshire (20/08/19)

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Oak Processionary
Thaumetopoea processionea

(Linnaeus, 1758) 2022 / 71.001

General comments:
Regular immigrant (males only).
Recently established widespread but local resident

Occasional males (feathered antennae) used to occur annually in Britain, mostly on the south coast, as primary immigrants and this is probably the source of one at Totteridge in 1979 (Ian Lorimer). The frequency of immigrant males has increased since approximately the year 2000, but the species, which is a serious pest in parts of Europe, has been unable to establish here as there were no females (it is unclear why females do not migrate, but all our historic and recent reports of primary immigrants are of males). However, during 2006 there was an outbreak of this species in western London as a result of larval nests being introduced on oaks imported from Holland; eradication measures were put into place, but the outbreak was not discovered until the moth had spread from the original point of introduction. It is perhaps no surprise that the species is now widespread and not uncommon, but the overall distribution map is confusing, since it amalgamates both sexes and also larval reports. It is of the utmost importance that the sex of any adult moths found is recorded. We can be certain, however, that the moth is now established as a resident in most of the North London Woodlands, extending well into Hertfordshire. "Official" control measures have plainly failed and their continuation is, at best, questionable.

Retained Specimen / Photograph will be Required.

Recorded in 29 (71%) of 41 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1979.
Last Recorded in 2023.
Additional Stats

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List Species Records   [Show All Latest]
Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
07/09/2023121TQ08 - Uxbridge
06/09/2023220TL31 - Hertford
06/09/2023221TQ28 - Hendon / Hampstead / Camden
05/09/2023121TQ17 - Brentford / Hounslow / Richmond
02/09/2023120TL10 - St Albans
Show Details | 1990 to 2023 | 2000 to 2023 | Graph Key
Express Record Oak Processionary
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VC20 VC21 VC21 VC20
Click Map for Details
Forewing: 16-17mm (f), 14-16mm (m)
Flight: July - September
Foodplant:   Oaks
GB Status: Naturalised / Immigrant
Former Status: Immigrant
Verification Grade:  Adult: 3
 Immature Adult   [Show Flight Weeks]
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