Zeuzera pyrina belongs to the family Cossidae, a family of 700 species worldwide, but sadly only represented by 3 in Britain. Sadder still is the fact the adults of this family are incapable of feeding.(2)
A macro moth with a 22-35mm wingspan(1). Rather unmistakable and one of the more striking species encountered in the garden. Generally common across Britain but we haven’t actually recorded it in years. It is single brooded and flies June – August (2).
It’s place in the Garden (Visitor/Lured)
The larva/caterpillars feed in the stems of a wide range of woody plants, including Ash and Oak. In terms of the Garden, apple and honeysuckle are the two food plant species named in the moth guide(2). Due to the infrequency in which we see these guys and the massive availability and variety of food plants in the local area, we consider this species unlikely to be resident (completing its life cycle) in the garden, perhaps on the rare occasion.
The larva feed within the stems of the food plant and pupate near the surface, concealed by the bark. Predation from small mammals, amphibians and perhaps even birds at this stage seems less likely than by other invertebrates/parasites. The adults are of course another matter and will have birds and bats to contend with.
How to encourage the species to your garden
Current distribution records place this species across much of the UK, so there is in most cases a fair chance of seeing this species, although not in Ireland unfortunately.
Both sexes are attracted to light, so luring this species is likely the best bet for many small gardens like ours, especially due to the size of some of the favoured food plants/trees.
- UK Moths: Species Account Page. https://ukmoths.org.uk/species/zeuzera-pyrina – Accessed online 18th December 2022
- Waring, P & Townsend, M (reprint 2004): Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland. British Wildlife Publishing. Hampshire