Thaumetopoea wilkinsoni, Crete - photo © K. Bormpoudaki
The Family Notodontidae (Prominents)
The Family Notodontidae
The family Notodontidae (Prominents) is a family of moths with approximately 3,800 known species and belongs to the Superfamily Noctuoidea. Moths of this family are found in all parts of the world, but they are most concentrated in tropical areas, especially in the New World and some are serious forest pests.
These medium-sized moths have stout bodies and are typically drab–brown or grayish in color. Female are generally larger than males. The proboscis varies widely; it is specialized in some species and reduced in others. Many species have a tuft of hair on the trailing edge of the forewing which protrudes upwards at rest.
The egg is hemispherical or almost spherical and lacks any ribs. Notodontid caterpillars are notable for their often odd shapes, and some have chemical defenses (cyanic acid, formic acid, and other ketones).
Some larvae undergo shape modification and color changes with each instar. They are hairless, but may have tubercles, spines, or humps and often rest with both ends raised. The last set of prolegs is frequently vestigial or may be long, with glands that can be everted. Most Notodontidae overwinter as larvae, pupating in a cell in the soil or in a loose cocoon on the ground in the spring.
The following species are representative species of the Notodontidae moths that have been photographed on the island of Crete. You can obtain more information about each species, by selecting the relative species icon. The list of Notodontidae species is nondefinitive.