Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Angle Shades Moth

Angle Shades Moth at Harlestone Heath
Garden Centre, nerar Northampton
Strolling through a garden centre earlier today I was pleased to see a fine specimen of the Angle Shades Moth, Phlogophora meticulosa, on some bedding plants. The staff would be advised to get rid of the moth (although I wasn't going to tell them) because, although the adults are not a pest, the caterpillars certainly can be, nibbling away at unopened flower buds and so on. They feed on a wide range of plant leaves including dock, bramble, chickweed, birch and oak but seem to have a particular liking for potted Pelargoniums. These caterpillars are usually bright green with vague yellow markings and a darker green head. 

This handsome moth is quite variable in colour although the basic pattern does not vary. Thus there are specimens with a considerable amount of green in their wing colours whilst others have lovely lilac or pink shades. The example I saw was very obvious against the green foliage but with a background of dead or withered leaves it would be very well camouflaged indeed. 

Research suggests that there may be two species involved, more or less identical to each other in general appearance. One is resident in Britain with the second species being a summer migrant, coming to this country in considerable numbers. (Don't tell the Daily Mail!)

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