This striking moth rests with wings open and half-raised and forewings slightly curled. Can be distinguished from the similar Lunar Thorn by a dark central spot towards the outer edge of the hindwing upperside. The central silver crescent on the forewing is also larger on the Purple Thorn. Second generation moths are typically smaller and paler.

The caterpillars can be found from late May to early July and again in from August to September in southern England.Overwinters as a pupa, just below ground.

The adult moths are rarely seen apart from when attracted to light.

The typical form of this common species has a distinct black mark on the forewing that is unique among spring-flying moths, but in northern parts, this mark may be the same as the ground colour, or paler.

This moth spends the winter as a pupa in an underground cocoon, with the adult fully formed inside. The caterpillars can be found between April and July, feeding mainly at night on the buds and then the leaves of their foodplant.

Adults fly late in the night, even in cold conditions and can be seen feeding at sallow blossom, also regularly attracted to light and sugar.

The male of this common species has a brownish forewing that is quite variable but can be distinguished by a row of black dots along the edge of both fore- and hindwing. The similar looking Mottled Umber lacks these markings and are less conspicuous in the Scarce Umber.

Caterpillars can be found between April and mid-June. Overwinters as a pupa underground

Males come to light and sometimes in large numbers while the female can be found by day resting on tree-trunks.

This common species is easily recognised by their round-tipped forewing, with large, rounded, pale-outlined oval and kidney mark and uniformly grey hindwing. Markings are extremely variable but always a shade of brown or grey.

The caterpillars can be found from April to June, living at first in the developing buds before going on to feed on the leaves, fully grown larvae can be found resting on the underside of the leaf. 

The adult moth often comes to light and to sugar in large numbers but adults will also feed on sallow catkins and the flowers of Blackthorn.

The resting position of the Early Thorn distinguishes it from all other British thorns, with wings held back and close together, similar to a butterfly. The summer generation is smaller and paler, typically with larger tawny orange patches on the underside. Darker forms are encountered in the north.

The caterpillar can be found between May and June and again from August to early October in the south but in the north, where there is only one generation, caterpillars can be found between June and August. Overwinters as a pupa, spun between leaves or plant debris, 

An Asian species, first recorded in the British Isles from Kent in 2007, where it was attracted to light. Since then sightings have increased greatly and is now encountered frequently across the south and even central London.

Flight Season

Flies from late July through to mid-September in one generation.

Distinguished from similar species by pale basal area of the forewing, and central crescent mark, which is small and faint. The Oak Processionary flies at night and can be found at light. The male is migratory but the female is much more sedentary.

Overwinters as an egg which can be found in batches on twigs. The caterpillars hatch in April and can be found until late June in communal silk nests, usually quite high up, on or often underneath a major branch, but sometimes lower down.

Flight Season

Flies from late July through to mid-September in one generation.

When at rest the Red Sword-grass is brilliantly camouflaged as a bit of wood. Indeed its scientific name Xylena vetusta means ‘old wood’. It is a widespread species in northern and western parts of the UK, but is capable of long-distance flights so can turn up anywhere.

Red Sword-grass moths hibernate through the winter, starting to emerge in March. The moths visit early blossom such as sallow to drink nectar as well as feeding on the sap of birches.

An unmistakable moth in the early spring, identifiable by the two broad brown bands across the forewing which vary in width and are edged with black. There is a darker form where the banding is still present but less conspicuous. Ground colour varies from white to greenish grey.

Male and female are similar but the female is often whiter and the male has feathered antennae.

The large copper butterfly has wings of a bright coppery-orange, fringed with black. The undersides are silvery-blue with black spots.

Emerging in July, the adult butterflies lays eggs on the leaves of great water dock. The caterpillars feed until September, on the undersides of the leaves; creating a characteristic 'window' since the upper part of the leaf is not eaten. They over the winter in this stage among the old leaves of the dock before resume feeding in the spring and then pupate in June.

Subscribe to Medium