Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Dendrolimus superans sibiricus
(Siberian silk moth)



Dendrolimus superans sibiricus (Siberian silk moth)


  • Last modified
  • 24 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Dendrolimus superans sibiricus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Siberian silk moth
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Dendrolimus superans sibiricus Tschetv.

Preferred Common Name

  • Siberian silk moth

Other Scientific Names

  • Dendrolimus sibiricus Chetverikov

International Common Names

  • English: larch caterpillar; Siberian coniferous silk moth; Siberian lasiocampid; Siberian moth
  • Russian: Sibirskiy shelkopryad

Local Common Names

  • Germany: Spinner, Sibirischer Arven-

EPPO code

  • DENDSI (Dendrolimus sibiricus)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Lepidoptera
  •                         Family: Lasiocampidae
  •                             Genus: Dendrolimus
  •                                 Species: Dendrolimus superans sibiricus


Top of page Eggs

The eggs are brown-yellow-green. They are oval, about 0.5-0.6 in length, sligthly flattened dorso-ventrally,1.5-2.0 mm. They are laid in masses on branches and twigs and needles.


Just after emergence the caterpillar is 5-7 mm long, but just before pupation it is 50-80 mm long.


After the end of feeding, caterpillars pupate on the branches or on the bark. The pupation period is very long, from May to July. The pupation takes place in a cocoon. Pupa is brown, 25-45 mm.


The male wingspan is 40-60 mm, the female wingspan is 60-80 mm, sometimes up to 100 mm. The front wings are brown-violet with one characteristic white spot.


Top of page D. superans sibiricus is widespread in the coniferous forests of Siberia, northern-east China, northern Mongolia and North Korea. The expansion of this species into coniferous forests to the west of the Urals (Peterson, 1904) was noticed at the beginning of the 20th century. In recent years it has been found in the central regions of the European part of Russia (Gninenko, 2000).

Outbreaks of this pest occur most frequently in coniferous forests connected with the mountain system of Sayan in East Siberia.

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 23 Apr 2020

Risk of Introduction

Top of page At present D.superans sibiricus is expanding its habitat, now occupying coniferous forests of the Russian Plain (Gninenko, 2001). Within the next few years it is expected to appear in forests of Finland, Belorussia, Latvia and Estonia. Furthermore in connection with global processes of climate change there is a risk of the expansion of this pest into northern and north-eastern regions of Siberia, including coniferous forests of Kamchatka and the Magadan region. It will be very difficult to control in these regions.

The movement of the pest to forests of East Europe which began at the beginning of the twentieth century is occurring naturally. So, the transboundary transportation of forest products, especially of round wood has little influence on the rate of spread of D. superans sibiricus to new regions.

Hosts/Species Affected

Top of page Caterpillars of D. superans sibiricus feed on many coniferous tree species. In the forests of the Sayan mountain system in East Siberia, Russia, the main host is Pinus sibirica. In Tyva, Northern Mongolia, and most parts of Transbaikalia, Evenkia and Yakutia, Russia, the main hosts are Larix sibirica and L. gmelinii. In the mountain forests of Altai, West Siberia, Russia, Kazakhstan and China, the main hosts are Abies sibirica, L. sibirica, Picea obovata and Pinus sibirica. In the Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories, Russia and North Korea, the main hosts are Pinus koraiensis, L. gmelinii and an Abies sp.

In forests of the Russian Plain the preferred tree species of D. superans sibiricus are unknown. However after the expansion of this pest into the forests situated to the west of the Urals in Bashkiria, Russia, it preferred to feed on needles of L. sibirica.

In Udmurtiya, Russia, D. superans sibiricus outbreaks that took place in the middle of the twentieth century covered spruce-fir forests (Okunev, 1955; Talman, 1957).

Growth Stages

Top of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Post-harvest, Vegetative growing stage

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Leaves / external feeding
Leaves / frass visible
Whole plant / external feeding
Whole plant / frass visible

Biology and Ecology

Top of page The development period of D. superans sibiricus usually lasts 2 years. Adults fly from the end of May to the beginning of June. After mating, females lay small groups of eggs on needles, branches and sometimes on the trunk (see Pictures). The prolificacy of females is usually about 200-250 eggs. The embryo development in an egg lasts about 10-15 days, caterpillars appear in June-July. They feed until late autumn and spend the first winter in forest litter. In spring, after most of the snow has thawed, caterpillars climb up to the crown and feed for the entire summer. In autumn they return to the forest litter where they spend their second winter. In spring they begin to feed intensively and pupate in May-June in cocoons made from crude web, which are placed in crowns, on branches or stems. In the warmest years some of the population of D. superans sibiricus can develop in just one year. Such years cause an outbreak to start.

D. superans sibiricus prefers coniferous forests on the southern slopes of mountain ranges (Matusevich, 1999) but it also occurs in coniferous forests of West Siberia and the eastern part of the Russian Plain.

The outbreaks occur routinely and sometimes cover large territories (Rozhkov, 1963, 1965; Boldaruyev, 1969; Gninenko, 2003; Gninenko, Orlinski, 2002).

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Bacillus thuringiensis Pathogen Larvae USSR
Bacillus thuringiensis caucasicus Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. dendrolimus Pathogen Larvae
Bacillus thuringiensis thuringiensis Pathogen Larvae
Blepharipa pratensis Parasite Larvae
Blepharipa schineri Parasite Larvae
Cotesia ordinaria Parasite Larvae
Exorista fasciata Parasite Larvae
Exorista larvarum Parasite Larvae
Granulosis virus Pathogen Larvae USSR
Masicera sphingivora Parasite Larvae
Mikia tepens Parasite Larvae
Pales pavida Parasite Larvae
Rogas dendrolimi Parasite Larvae
Telenomus gracilis Parasite
Trichogramma dendrolimi Parasite Eggs

Notes on Natural Enemies

Top of page The fullest report on parasites of this pest was given by Kolomiets (1962). There are 36 known species, which parasitize on different stages of the pest.

Telenomus gracillis very likely plays the most important role in the population dynamics of D. superans sibiricus. In different locations of outbreaks, T. gracillis destroyed up to 100% of its eggs (Kolomiets, 1962; Boldaruyev, 1969). In these locations, parasites such as Masicera zimini, Rhogas dendrolimi and Apanteles ordinarious were of great importance as well.

There are many pathogenic organisms that affect D. superans sibiricus (Golosova, 2003).

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Land vehicles Yes

Plant Trade

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Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
Leaves eggs; larvae; pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye
Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches eggs; larvae; pupae Yes Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye

Impact Summary

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Animal/plant collections Negative
Animal/plant products None
Biodiversity (generally) None
Crop production Negative
Environment (generally) Negative
Fisheries / aquaculture Negative
Forestry production Negative
Human health None
Livestock production None
Native fauna Negative
Native flora Negative
Rare/protected species None
Tourism None
Trade/international relations Negative
Transport/travel Negative


Top of page Outbreaks of D. superans sibiricus often cover vast areas and cause massive destruction of forests. According to Rozhkov (1965), between 1870 and 1952 in the Irkutsk region D. superans sibiricus destroyed an area of 1.1 million ha. Between 1931 and 1941 in the Chita region alone 1.5 million ha of larch forests were destroyed. In the first half of the twentieth century 2 million ha of forests perished as a result of damage caused by D. superans sibiricus in the Far East (Ivliev, 1966).

Prevention and Control

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Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

At present the most used chemical preparations in Russia are some pyrethroid preparations as well as Bacillus thuringinesis, which is sometimes applied with the addition of dimilin (Gninenko and Sergeyeva, 2003; Kuteyev, 2000).

Monitoring of population number is carried out by different methods (Ilinsky and Tropin, 1965) including pheromone traps (Pletnev et al., 1999; Baranchikov et al., 1999).

An area no less than 1-2 million ha is annually involved in special inspections in different regions of Russia.


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Baranchikov Yu N; Pet'ko VM; Klun DA; Mastro VK; Radzhenovich AA, 2000. Polovoj attractant i feromonnye lovushki klya monitoringa sibirskogo shelkopryada. Zashtita lesov Rossii i perspektivy ee razvitiya. MPR, Pushkino, s.7-8 (in Russian).

Boldaruyev VO, 1969. Dinamika chislennossti sibirskogo shelkopryada i ego parazitov . AN SSSR, Ulan-Ude (in Russian).

CABI/EPPO, 2007. Dendrolimus superans sibiricus. [Distribution map]. Distribution Maps of Plant Pests, No.June. Wallingford, UK: CABI, Map 687.

EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.

Gninenko Yu I, 2003. Vspyshki massovogo razmnozheniya klesnych nasekomych v Sibiri i na Dal'nem Vostoke v poslednej chetverti XX veka . Lesochozyajstvennaya informaciya, N1, s. 46-57 (in Russian).

Gninenko Yu I; Sergeeva Yu A, 2003. Opyt ispol'zovaniya bakterial'nych preparatov dlya zashtity lesa v Rossii. Inf. Bull. N2. Biologiceskaya zashtita lesa i lesopatologicheskij monitoring. Pushkino, s.51-61 (in Russian).

Gninenko YuI, 2000. Dendrolimus superans sibiricus - a threat to European forests. Lesnoe Khozyai^breve~stvo, No. 3:50-51; 7 ref.

Gninenko YuI; Orlinskii AD, 2002. Dendrolimus sibiricus in the coniferous forests of European Russia at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Bulletin OEPP, 32(3):481-483; 19 ref.

Golosova MA, 2003. Biologicheskaya zashtita lesa . MGUL, Moscow (in Russian).

Ilijnsky AI; Tropin IV, ed. , 1965. Nadzor, uchjet i prognoz massovych razmnozhenij chvoe- listogryzyshtich nasekomych . Ltsnaya promyshlennost' Moscow (in Russian).

Ivliev LA, 1966. Sibirskij shelkopryad v lesach Dal'nego Vostoka . Avtoref. Kand. Dissert. Vladivostok (in Russian).

Kolomietc NG, 1962. Parazity i khishtniki sibirskogo shelkopryada. SO AN SSSR, Novosibirsk (in Russian).

Kuteev FS, 1999. Opyt biologicheskoj bor'by s sibirskim shelkopryadom . Zashtita tajozhnych lesov Sibiri ot sibirskogo shelkopryada. Gorno-Altajsk, s. 22-23 (in Russian).

Matusevich LS, 1999. Sibirskij shelkopryad v lesach Sibiri i Dal'nego Vostoka v XX veke .Zashtita tajozhnych lesov Sibiri ot sibirskogo shelkopryada. Gorno-Altajsk, s. 35-38 (in Russian).

Okunev PP, 1955. Mery bor'by s sibirskim shelkopryadom. Lesnoe khozyajstvo, 1955, N 3 (in Russian).

Petersen W, 1904. Uber Dendrolimus pini und D. segregatus. Bull. Russian Ent. Rev., 4.

Pletnev VA; Vendilo NV; Ponomarev VL; Mitroshin DB; Lebedeva KV, 1999. Poisk feromona sibirskogo shelkopryada Dendrolimus sibiricus . Zashtita tajozhnych lesov Sibiri ot sibirskogo shelkopryada. Gorno-Altajsk, 56-57 (in Russian).

Rozhkov AS, 1963. Sibirskij shelkopryad. Moscow, AN SSSR (in Russian).

Rozhkov AS, 1965. Massovoe razmnnozhenie sibirskogo shelkopryada i mery bor'by s nim . Moscow, AN SSSR (in Russian).

Tal'man PN, 1957. Vliyanie sredy i preobrazuyushtei eje roli cheloveka v svyazi s razmnozheniem sibirskogo shelkopryada. Tr. Leningadskoj LTA, vyp. 81, ch.3, 57-68 (in Russian).

Tur'yanov RA, 1999. Massovye razmnnozheniya sibirskogo shelkopryada (Dendrolimus sibiricus) na Yuzhnom Urale. Zashtita tajozhnych lesov Sibiri ot sibirskogo shelkopryada. Gorno-Altajsk, s. 69-74 (in Russian).

Vasil'ev IV, 1900. Shelkopryad v lesach Irkutskoj gubernii . Lesopromyshlennyj vestnik, N 4-5 (in Russian).

Distribution Maps

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