Oriental Blueberry Owl

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Oriental Blueberry Owl
Graue Heidelbeereule (Eurois occulta)

Grey huckleberry owl(Eurois occulta)

Family: Owl butterfly (Noctuidae)
Subfamily: Noctuinae
Tribus: Noctuini
Subtrib: Noctuina
Genre: Eurois
Art: Oriental Blueberry Owl
Scientific name
Eurois occulta
(Linnaeus, 1758)

Preparation of a grey huckleberry owl

The gray huckleberry owl(Eurois occulta), also called brown huckleberry owl [1], is a butterfly (moth) in the owl family (Noctuidae).


With a wingspan of 52 to 64 millimetres[2] this species is one of the larger owl butterflies.[2] The forewings shimmer in various shades of blue-grey, brown-grey or black-grey. Transverse and wavy lines are double. The oval ringed maculae are strikingly whitish or light grey in colour, while the kidney maculae are darkened and the cone maculae indistinct. The hindwings are grey-brown without markings and show conspicuous white fringes.

The light brown egg is spherical with a flattened base. It is finely ribbed transversely and longitudinally.

Younger caterpillars are brownish in colour and have yellow, partly reddish filled lateral stripes. In adults, a series of diamond-shaped, black-brown spots stand out clearly from the brown-grey ground colouring. Dorsal and secondary dorsal lines have a whitish colour and are interrupted

The pupa is elongate and dark brown in color. The cremaster carries two spines thickened at the end[3].

Similar species

The moths are unmistakable, especially because of their considerable size.

Geographical distribution and habitat

The main distribution area of the gray huckleberry owl is northern and central Europe. In an easterly direction, its range extends through Central Asia to the Pacific Ocean. It has also been found in Greenland, Iceland, and northern regions of North America. In the south, the species occurs in northern Spain[4] and on the Balkan Peninsula[5][6] on the Balkan Peninsula.

The species is mainly found in blueberry forests, bushy bogs as well as forest edges, in the Alps it climbs up to an altitude of 2000 meters.[3]


The species forms one generation per year in Central Europe, with moths flying from June to September. The moths are nocturnal and visit the bait. They come to artificial light sources at night.[2] During the day they often rest on tree trunks with their wings close together. The caterpillars live polyphagously on a variety of plants beginning in late summer. These include bilberry(Vaccinium myrtillus), broom heather(Calluna vulgaris) and blackthorn(Prunus spinosa).[7] They overwinter and pupate in a burrow in May of the following year


The grey huckleberry owl occurs in varying numbers in the German states and is classified on the Red List of Threatened Species in Category V (on the Forewarned List).[8]


Individual references

  1. Red Lists at Science4you
  2. a b c Fibiger (1993: p. 180/1)
  3. a b Forster & Wohlfahrt (1971: pp. 59/60)
  4. V. M. Redondo: Eurois occulta Linnaeus 1758, novedad para la fauna iberica (Lepidoptera, Noctuidae). SHILAP Revista de Lepidopterologia, 12(3): 258, 1984
  5. Mladen Kucinic, Branko Jalzic and Dragan Pelic: Xylocampa areola (Esper, 1789), Eurois occulta (Linnaeus, 1758) and Euxoa decora (Denis & Schiffermuller, 1775), new elements in the noctuid fauna (Insecta: Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) of Croatia. Natura Croatica, 7(3): 213-226, 1998
  6. I. Dodok: Noctuidae (Lepidoptera) of the Užice region (Western Serbia). Acta entomologica serbica, 8(1/2): 1-13, 2003 PDF
  7. Axel Steiner in Ebert (1998: pp. 423-425)
  8. Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (ed.): Rote Liste gefährdeter Tiere Deutschlands. Landwirtschaftsverlag, Münster 1998, ISBN 3-89624-110-9.


  • Michael Fibiger: Noctuinae II. In: W. G. Tremewan (ed.): Noctuidae Europaeae. 1st ed. Volume 2. Entomological Press, Sorø 1993, ISBN 87-89430-02-6 (English).
  • Günter Ebert (ed.): Die Schmetterlinge Baden-Württemberg. 1. Edition. Volume 7. moths V Noctuidae 3rd part. Ulmer, Stuttgart (Hohenheim) 1998, ISBN 3-8001-3500-0.
  • Walter Forster, Theodor A. Wohlfahrt: Die Schmetterlinge Mitteleuropas. Volume 4: Owls. (Noctuidae). Franckh’sche Verlagshandlung, Stuttgart 1971, ISBN 3-440-03752-5.

Web links

Commons: Gray huckleberry owl– Collection of images, videos and audio files