- Subfamily: Zeuzerinae
- Wingspan: 30-55 mm
- Flight period: May - Jul
- Spread: Common
- Host plants: Phragmites sp.
Phragmataecia castaneae also called Reed Leopard is a moth of the Cossidae family with a wingspan of 30-55 mm.
In Europe this moth can be found almost everywhere, with the exception of Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Norway. *
It is also present in the Middle East, the Caucasus, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, northwestern Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, western China, southwestern Siberia, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. **
In Italy it is also visible in the islands. *
The front wings of Phragmataecia castaneae are a washed-out gray with fine dark spots. White or brownish white hind wings. In some specimens the streaks of the front wings are absent. ***
The head, thorax and abdomen are brownish white.
Sexual dimorphism is characterized both by the dimensions, which are larger in the female, and by the length of the abdomen, in fact in the female it extends well beyond the wings at rest The moth flies from May to July depending on the location.
As mentioned above, it is a widespread but localized cosside and linked to the marsh reed, its main host plant. The body of the larva is yellowish white with two purplish-brown lines on the back. The head is light brown.
The larvae severely devastate the tips of the shoots. The point that emerges is completely eaten.
The larvae feed on Phragmites australis, Phragmites communis, Phragmites gigantea and Phragmites pumila ****.
* Lepidoptera mundi https://lepidoptera.eu/ - Fauna Europea https://fauna-eu.org/
** Description of two new species of Cossidae (Lepidoptera) from China
*** Hampson, G. F. (1892). The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma: Moths Volume I. Taylor and Francis – via Biodiversity Heritage Library.
**** Cossidae of Israel