Taxonomy

Characteristics of Brahmaea europaea

  • Adult males have a wingspan of 60-65mm, whilst females are slightly larger, with a wingspan of 65-75mm. 
  • Both sexes have bipectinate antennae, somewhat broader in males.
  • At rest, the wings are held in a roof-like position.
  • The abdomen is bulky and hairy in both sexes, slightly pointed in males. 
  • The legs are stout and hairy. 
  • The head bears two large eyes and reduced mouthparts, and the adult does not feed.

Wing pattern

Most Brahmaeidae species share a particular wing pattern resembling willow-weaved baskets, which helps conceal them in their environment.

B. europaea wing pattern:

  • The apex of the forewings bears a dark apical spot and an attractive series of dark and light brown wavy lines separated by a median band of irregular spots merging into each other, with a larger, rounder one at the base. 
  • The wavy pattern is repeated from the margin to the middle of the hind wings.
  • The basal part of the hind wings is a grey-violet colour with brown venation. 

The wing pattern is similar in both males and females but varies a great deal between individuals.

This species has been placed by some recent authors in a separate genus, Acanthobrahmaea, as the wing venation differs from other Palaearctic species of the genus Brahmaea.