Among the dozens and dozens of Yellow Underwings of various kinds, the milieu of Rustics, the Rose-flounced Tabbies, the Mouse Moth, the Least Carpets, a solitary Elephant Hawk-moth, and several tens of other species, there was a crispy-looking golden wonder that came to the actinic light trap in the night yesterday.
A female Oak Eggar, Lasiocampa quercus.
The species is sexually dimorphic, so it was obvious this was a female even before she laid a dozen eggs in the specimen pot.
Incidentally, the species is called Eggar because the silky cocoons the larvae make are quite large and obviously ovoid (as Peter Marren explains in his book, reviewed here earlier this year), although the pupa of this species also looks like an acorn, hence the “Oak” in the name, the larvae don’t feed on Quercus tree species, they prefer heather, bilberry, bramble, sallow, broom, blackthorn, hawthorn, hazel, and sea-buckthorn, according to UKMoths. The red-brown males are day-flyers, the females nocturnal.