Moths of Britain and
Superfamily - NOCTUOIDEA
Family - NOCTUIDAE
The Noctuidae is by far the largest family of
Lepidoptera, with over 35000 species currently known to science, and
another estimated 60000 species still awaiting discovery, mostly in
the rainforests and cloudforests of Amazonia where a single night's
moth-trapping can result in the discovery of 30 or 40 "new" species.
In Europe there are about 1450
species, of which just over 400 occur in the British Isles. About
108 of these are placed within the subfamily Amphipyrinae, a group
that includes the Arches, Brindles, Minors, Rustics and the Angle
Most Noctuids have cryptically
patterned uppersides which provide them with excellent camouflage.
Some are patterned to resemble patches of tree bark or lichen. The
Angle Shades is disguised as a bit of curled up decaying leaf, an
illusion exaggerated by the posture of the moth, which crinkles its
wings into folds when at rest. The disguise is so effective that the
moth is almost impossible to find unless it happens to settle on a
fence or a leaf. The moth depicted above was accidentally disturbed
when I tripped against the fallen branch under which it had been
hiding, and saw it crawl up onto the exposed side of the branch
where it remained for a few seconds before running underneath again.
meticulosa is found across most of Europe.
This species is found in a wide variety of habitats including
woodlands, scrubby grassland, fallow fields, meadows, pastures,
along roadsides and hedgerows, and in parks and gardens.
The larva occurs in 2 colour forms - pale green or pale
reddish-brown, and feeds on a wide variety of herbaceous plants. It
can also be found on trees - birch, oak, apple to name just a few.
Angle Shades moth Phlogophora meticulosa,
is a widespread and common species, and is most frequently encountered
when it settles on garden foliage, or on fences, at which time it's
disguise is non-effective and can easily be spotted.
If disturbed while at rest, the moths tend to run into crevices or
into undergrowth, rather than attempting to fly, a habit shared with a
number of other Noctuids.