Eilema pygmaeola (Doubleday, 1847)

Eilema pygmaeola: Adult (eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, Eselsburger Tal) [N] Eilema pygmaeola: Head: light forehead (eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany) [S] Eilema pygmaeola: Adult [N] Eilema pygmaeola: Adult [N] Eilema pygmaeola: Adult, portrait: light forehead [M] Eilema pygmaeola: Half-grown larva (eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany) [S] Eilema pygmaeola: Larva (e.l. Valais, Switzerland) [S] Eilema pygmaeola: Larva (eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany) [S] Eilema pygmaeola: Larva (central segments dorsal, eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany) [S] Eilema pygmaeola: Larva [N] Eilema pygmaeola: Habitat on the eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany: rocky slope with Chazara briseis and Charissa pullata [N]

Host plants:
The caterpillars feed on lichens, mosses and old, dead or dying parts of plants. I watched a caterpillar eating old inflorescences of Euphorbia cyparissias.

Eilema pygmaeola inhabits nutrient-poor grasslands, most often those that are interspersed with rocks and stones. The caterpillars are found particularly in low growing, meagre, moss and lichen-rich places that are often grazed by migratory sheep (transhumance) and have some open soil. When these habitats are interlocked with felted, higher growing and
moss-rich parts, Eilema pygmaeola is often occurring together with Eilema lutarella.

Life cycle:
The development is similar to Eilema lutarella. The mature caterpillars can be found during the day often under loose stones on moss or much less often even resting higher in the vegetation (especially in hot weather to escape the heat on soil niveau) in June. The moths fly like Eilema lutarella in July and August.

Endangerment: endangered

Endangerment factors:
Eilema pygmaeola is endangered due to its dependence on low-growing, gappy and rupicolous areas.

The distribution ranges from Northwest Africa across much of Southern and Central Europe to the Black Sea.

Eilema albicosta | Eilema bipunctata | Eilema caniola | Eilema cereola | Eilema complana | Eilema deplana | Eilema griseola | Eilema interpositella | Eilema lurideola | Eilema lutarella | Eilema morosina | Eilema palliatella | Eilema sororcula | Eilema uniola