Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 437–451 | Cite as

Another Blood Feeder? Experimental Feeding of a Fruit-Piercing Moth Species on Human Blood in the Primorye Territory of Far Eastern Russia (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Calpinae)

  • J. M. ZaspelEmail author
  • V. S. Kononenko
  • P. Z. Goldstein


The genus Calyptra Ochsenheimer (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Calpini) includes what are commonly known as vampire moths, so named because of their ability to pierce mammalian flesh and feed on blood. These are medium sized moths, with wingspans ranging from 35 to 72 mm in size (Bänziger 1983; Table  1; Figs.  1, 2 and 3). Species in this genus occur in S. Europe, eastern Africa, sub-Himalayan regions of S. Asia, the Manchurian subregion, and are broadly distributed throughout S. E. Asia. Calyptra species have enjoyed popularity among members of the entomological community due to their modified proboscides equipped with strongly sclerotized barbed hooks used for piercing through both thick and hard skinned fruits such as peaches, plums, and citrus as well as mammals (Bänziger 1982; Zaspel, personal observation; Fig.  4).
Table 1

Summary of Feeding Behaviors for Moth Specimens Collected in Primorye Territory of Far Eastern Russia from 07/14/2006 to 07/15/2006 and from 07/17/2006 to...


Vampire moth noctuidae proboscis blood feeding fruit piercing 



We would like to thank our field guide Boris Popkov, the staff of the Hunting Area, and the research scientists at Gornotayeznaya Biological Station. We greatly appreciate the assistance of Ms. Valentina Kolesnikova from the Russian Academy of Sciences Far Eastern Branch. We also thank Dr. Hans Bänziger for an earlier review of this manuscript, many helpful discussions about Calyptra, and additional feeding observations/images for C. thalictri. We also thank an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments that improved this paper. The work reported in this paper was ancillary to an expedition designed to collect frozen tissues of noctuid moths, partially funded under a grant to PZG (NSF DEB 0530889) and a grant from The Explorer’s Club NY to JMZ 2006.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Zaspel
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • V. S. Kononenko
    • 3
  • P. Z. Goldstein
    • 2
  1. 1.Entomology and Nematology DepartmentUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  2. 2.Florida Museum of Natural History, McGuire Center for Lepidopteran ResearchUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Institute of Biology and Soil Sciences, Far Eastern BranchRussian Academy of Sciences, Laboratory of EntomologyVladivostokRussia

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