Lepidoptera The Poplar Kitten Moth – Dicranura Bifida

The Poplar Kitten Moth Fig. 131.-The Poplar Kitten.

Our illustration shows the arrangement of the white and grey on the wings of this moth, but the other Kittens (Bicuspis and Furcula) so closely resemble it that it is necessary to point out a mark of distinction. It will be observed that the fore wings are crossed by a broad grey band, edged with black. This band, in the present species, is almost of the same width throughout, its interior margin being almost straight, and the exterior one slightly concave. In Furcula, the outer margin of the band is generally sharply bent inward just below the costa. In Bicuspis the grey band varies considerably in shape, but both this and the dark blotch near the tip of the wing are more sharply defined than in the other two species.

The caterpillar is green, dotted with brown, and has a brown stripe on the back. This stripe is broken on the third segment, and widens out on the eighth and thirteenth segments. It feeds on the Poplar (Populus nigra) and Aspen (P. tremula).

When full grown it descends to the trunk of the tree, and constructs a very hard cocoon of a glutinous substance from its own body mingled with little pieces of the bark that it removes for the purpose. Thus made, the cocoon so closely resembles the surrounding bark that detection is very difficult. I have frequently found these cocoons on the inner surface of loose bark.

This moth is widely distributed, and may be searched for in June and July. The larva feeds during August and September.