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moth Goat Moths

Identify It >   Moth Section >   Goat Moths >

Scientific name:  Cossus cossus

Size:  Larvae length approx 100mm.  The adult moth has a wingspan of up to 95mm

Distribution:  Scarce, but widely distributed throughout the U.K.  Going by sightings received, Cambridgeshire seems to have a healthy population.

Months seen:  The adult moth flies in June and July.  The larvae are usually seen in August or September when they go walkabout looking for pupation sites

Life span:  5 to 6 years (5 years as a larva)

Habitat:  Parks, gardens and woodlands

Food:  Caterpillars feed on deciduous tree wood.  The adult moths do not feed.

Special features:  Adult Goat moths have light grey wings which are covered in black speckles.  There is also a brown band blushing across the wings.  The stout body is dark grey with some lighter stripes on the abdomen.  They are the heaviest moth found in the UK.

The larvae are a deep purple-red along the back with a more orange colour along the sides and below.  The head is black and there are a few fine white hairs along the whole body.

The larvae of the goat moth spends up to five years developing.  The first few years are spent inside the trunks and branches of various deciduous trees including; birch, ash, oak and willow.  In the final year of development they leave the tree to find a suitable pupation site on the ground.  They emerge as adult Goat Moths the following summer.

Goat Moths get their name from the strong goat-like smell they emit during the larval stage.


2010 - Whittlesea, Cambridgshire - John Bazeley
2010 - River Nene, nr. March, Cambs - Sheena Williams
2010 - New Forest, Hampshire - Keith Dando
2010 - Lynford Arboretum, Norfolk - Nicole Burgum
2010 - Busketts Inclosure, New Forest - Rob Harnett

2011 - Kyson Hill, Woodbridge, Suffolk - Lynn Scannell
2011 - March, Cambs - Shannon + Lewis Marks
2011 - Longstanton, Cambs - Shona Watson

2012 - Cambridge (nr airport) - Karen Edwards
2012 - Sutton, Ely, Cambs - Ruby Ashman
2012 - Burley, Hampshire - Jamie Cosgrove

2013 - Sutton, Cambridgshire - Sophie Adams
2013 - Hollands Wood, New Forest, Hampshire - Celine Gill
2013 - Winsor, New Forest, Hampshire - Sylvia & Nigel Floyd
2013 - Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex - Cheryl Wood
2013 - Ascot, Berkshire - Peter Slade
2013 - March, Cambs - Andy Murray
2013 - Flag Fen, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire - Anne Ellershaw

2014 - Owlsmoor Berkshire - Lisa and Jack Prentice (photo)
2014 - Longcross, Surrey - Robert Simpson
2014 - Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire - Peter Richer (photo)
2014 - Fen Drayton, Cambridgeshire - Andrew Pullen (photo)
2014 - Eye, Peterboough (PE6) - Zoe Entwistle (photo)
2014 - Beaulieu, Hampshire - Marc Slatter (photo)

2015 - Ashurst, Hampshire - Pam Hollingsbee
2015 - Hindhead, near Gibbet Hill, Surrey - Caroline McNeill (photo)

2016 - Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire - Ben Pike (photo)
2016 - Bordon, Hampshire - Nicole Lowe (photo)
2016 - Milford, near Guildford, Surrey - Katy Holland (photo)
2016 - Christchurch, Dorset - Rob Walker (photo)

2017 - Flag Fen, Peterborough - Derek Blayney (photo)
2017 - Newbourne, Suffolk - Holly and Matthew Pitt (photo)

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