The European owl moth, Brahmaea europaea, was first discovered on Monte Vulture (Mount Vulture) , in the woodland around the volcanic crater lake of Montecchio in Basilicata, a region in south Italy. 

Monte Vulture is a rather small and inactive volcanic area that last erupted about half a million years ago.

Brahmaea europaea has since been recorded in other nearby areas, and a specimen may also have been collected in the Apulia region on the Gargano peninsula. 

Brahmaea europaea,is the only member of the Brahmaeidae family in Europe., the other species and genera having an Afro-Asian distribution.


This moth lives in forests of oak, privet and ash, at an altitude between 200 and 800m, where the climate is milder.

Distribution of related species

The closest relatives of the European owl moth are:

  • the Anatolian Brahmaea ledereri
  • B. christophi of the Caucasus
  • the larger B. wallichii, which has been recorded in the north of India, Myanmar, China, Taiwan and Japan
  • B. certhia and B. porphyria which are also found in north India and China
  • B. hearseyi which is found in South East Asia
  • B. japonica which is from Japan and has also been recorded in China
  • the extremely rare Calliprogonos miraculosa which has only been found in the Shaanxi, and recently Sichuan, provinces of China. 
  • Dactyloceras which is an African genus