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Festoon Apoda limacodes

Another moth family named after the caterpillars: the Slug Moths. In the USA this family is better known as Slug Caterpillars. The larvae are unique indeed! They do resemble slugs: they are almost legless and stick to leaves the way slugs do. When you turn them over, you will see a jelly like smooth surface. And just like in snails, the caterpillars will try to turn to their usual position by contracting the underside of the body in waves. During this process the mouth, which is located near the jelly-like 'foot' is pulled upwards and hardly visible. The adult moths are small, but sturdy animals looking like owlets and prominents. Males are brown and have a dark brown V-shape on both wings. Females are slightly larger, yellowish and their V-shaped marking usually is ochre. Males regularly fly in sunshine. The Festoon reaches a wingspan of only 30 mm. They are on the wing in the summermonths from June to August. The larvae are seen from August to October, especially on oak and beech. The pupa overwinters in a self-made cocoon. Because of the shape of the cocoon this family is also referred to as Cup Moths or (particularly in the USA and Canada) Saddleback Moths. The Festoon is not very common in Britain and appears only as a local species in the southern part of Engeland. It is unknown from Wales and Scotland. Presence in Ireland doubtful. In the Benelux countries and in England a second species of this family may be found. It is called the Triangle, but it is very rare.