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The Drinker - caterpillar
The Drinker - caterpillar

The Drinker
The drinker (Euthrix potatoria), so-called because the caterpillars drink water, is a species in the order butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera), the suborder Glossata, the infraorder Heteroneura (division Ditrysia, section Cossina, subsection Bombycina), the superfamily Bombycoidea, the family eggars, snout moths or lappet moths (Lasiocampidae), the subfamily Lasiocampinae, the tribe Selenepherini, and the genus Euthrix. A scientific synonym for the drinker is Philudoria potatoria. Subspecies of Euthrix potatoria are: Euthrix potatoria askoldensis and Euthrix potatoria potatoria.

The drinker is common in Europe and Asia. In Europe it is found from the southern boundary of Scandinavia to the northern boundary of the Mediterranean. In Central Europe it is common, however in some areas it is in decline.
Euthrix potatoria - Caterpillar
Euthrix potatoria - Caterpillar
Euthrix potatoria is a medium-sized moth, reaching wingspans of 40 - 65 mm. Its body isyellow, brown or reddish brown in colour. The head and neck are thick with long hairs. The base colour of the wings is ochre -yellow to reddish brown. The wings of the males can have a purple sheen and are usually darker than the females’.

There is a dark brown diagonal stripe in the anterior third of the upper surface of the forewings, which extends up to the wing edge, and which remains visible when the wings are folded. Another transverse line in the same colour can be found in the posterior third of the wings’ upper surface. It runs from the wing joint to the wing tip. About halfway between these transverse lines, is a less distinct, wavy line. In the centre of the wings’ upper surface, between the two dark brown, transverse lines, are two different-sized, predominantly white patches, which have a thin, dark circumference and a brown core (usually). The drinker can be confused with other eggar moth species such as the plum lappet (Odonestis pruni).
Euthrix potatoria prefer habitats with open woodlands and wetlands. They are active from June to August, the females at twilight, the males at night.

After mating, the fertilized females lay single eggs or groups, on grasses. The eggs are oval, flat, and have a whitish (later slightly greenish) surface, which is stuffed with annular gray (later green) drawings.
The larvae hatch in September. They are nocturnal, but can also be found during the day on grasses. Their bodies are up to 75 mm in length and their colouration is very striking, almost unmistakeable. The basic body colour of the caterpillar is dark grey, and later changes to blue.

The entire body of the caterpillar is covered in a thick coat of long reddish-brown hair. These hairs break off when touched and can get stuck in the skin. A band of yellow to orange-yellow spots runs along each side of the caterpillar and next to this are short, thick, black tufts of hair. There are white tufts of hair in pairs and triplets, the whole way along the lower half of the sides.

On the upper surface of three segments of the back are broad tufts of long, orange hair. On the penultimate segment is a similar tuft of black hair.
These caterpillars regularly drink dew or rain drops. They eat moor grass (Molinia caerulea), reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea), reed (Phragmites australis) or sedge (Cyperaceae).

The caterpillars are resistant to the cold winter and in the 3rd Larval stage are to find on grass. The larvae continue eating in the spring. In May, they pupate in a parchment-like cocoon, with strong bristles. The pupa hangs from a blade of grass, is black and red in colour and darkens wit time. In June, the adult drinker hatches.

Euthrix potatoria
Common namesThe Drinker, Drinker, Drinker Moth
German namesGras-Glucke, Grasglucke, Trinkerin, Graselefant
Dutch namesRietvink, Drinker
Danish namesGræsspinder
Finnish namesHeinäkehrääjä, Heinänorsu
Norwegian namesGrasspinner
Swedish namesGräselefant
French namesBuveuse
AuthorCarl von Linné (Carl Nilsson Linnæus), 1758

North Europe (Baltic region (Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)), British Isles (United Kingdom (Great Britain (England (South England (Southwest England (Cornwall, Somerset, Devonshire)), East England (Suffolk, Norfolk, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire (Huntingdonshire), Bedfordshire), English Midlands (East Midlands (Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire), West Midlands (Staffordshire)), North England (Northwest England (Cheshire), Northeast England (Northumberland), Yorkshire)), Wales (Mid Wales (Montgomeryshire))), Northern Ireland), Ireland), Germany (West Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia)), Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark), Fennoscandia (Finland)), West Europe (Austria, France (South France (Occitania (Midi-Pyrenees))), Switzerland, Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg)), South Europe (Italy (North Italy, South Italy), Iberian Peninsula (Spain)), Central Europe (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic (Moravia, Bohemia), Slovakia), Southeast Europe (Romania, Greece, Yugoslavia (Croatia)), East Europe (Ukraine, Belarus)
West Asia (Near East (Turkey)), Far East (East Asia (Japan))


West Palaearctic

Fossils: Paleozoic,

CountriesAustria, Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom
Links and ReferencesEuthrix potatoria in
Euthrix potatoria in
Euthrix potatoria in
Euthrix potatoria in Wikipedia (English)

Description of images / photos
Photography with Cameras
Nikon D3x, Nikon D300, Canon 50D
Image editing with Photoshop
1. The Drinker - caterpillar
2. Euthrix potatoria - Caterpillar
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Euthrix potatoria
The Drinker, Drinker, Drinker Moth
AuthorLinnaeus, 1758
Wingspan45 mm
Bombyx potatoria
Cosmotriche berolinensis
Cosmotriche brunnea
Cosmotriche crucistrigata
Cosmotriche decolor
Cosmotriche diminuta
Cosmotriche extrema
Cosmotriche feminalis
Cosmotriche intermedia
Cosmotriche inversa
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Cosmotriche nigrescens
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Cosmotriche obsoleta
Cosmotriche obsoleta-berolinensis
Cosmotriche obsoleta-extrema
Cosmotriche obsoleta-lutescens
Cosmotriche obsoleta-potatoria
Cosmotriche pallida
Cosmotriche potatoria
Cosmotriche proxima
Cosmotriche suffusa
Cosmotriche unimacula
Diacrisia lutea
Euthrix potatoria
Lasiocampa potatoria
Odonestis askoldensis
Odonestis potatoria
Phalaena potatoria
Philudoria agenjoi
Philudoria alba
Philudoria aurantior
Philudoria bicolor
Philudoria japonica
Philudoria lilacina
Philudoria occidentalis
Philudoria potatoria
Philudoria rosea
Philudoria sordidula
Philudoria transitoria
Philudoria uniformis
Philudoria variegata
Euthrix potatoria askoldensis
Euthrix potatoria bergmani
Euthrix potatoria bergmanni
Euthrix potatoria feminalis
Euthrix potatoria potatoria
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