Moths in the Geometridae family, inchworms, loopers, 1, 2, 3

Odezia atrata, the Chimney sweeper moth

chimney sweeper moth, adult

Caterpillar. The caterpillar feeds on pignut flowers from April until early june.

It pupates just below the ground surface.

Adults. The Chimney sweeper is completely black except for the white edges around the tip of the forewings. This is difficult to see in sunny weather, so I brought this on inside to photograph it. This is a small, day-flying moth with a have a wingspan of 23 - 27 mm and a front wing length of 12 - 15 mm. It flies in sunny weather in grassy areas in June and July, and in August in Scotland.

It overwinters as an egg.

Venusia cambrica, the Welsh wave

Welsh wave, Venusia cambrica, adult moth

The Welsh wave tends to occur in the upland regions of Northern Europe, and in the U. K. in the north and west on moorland and open woodland.

Eggs are laid in July.

The caterpillar grows up to 21 mm long, and has a yellow-green body with a faint yellow line down its back, and irregular blotches of red/brown. The head is green. The foodplants are rowan and birch. The caterpillar feeds until it pupates at the end of August. It overwinters as a pupa in the soil or among plant debris.

The adult moth does not emerge until June the following year. Adult wingspan is 27 - 30 mm, and front wing length is 13 - 15 mm. It flies from June to August. By day it rests on rocks and tree trunks.

Mottled beauty, Alcis repandata or Satin beauty Deileptenia ribeata

Mottled beauty, Satin beauty, Alcis repandata, Deileptenia ribeata

I'm not certain which of these two species this is. Both fly late June to August, and are found in woodlands. Both overwinter as caterpillars on their foodplant which includes conifers and most of the other shrubs and trees found around the edges of coniferous woodland.

The forewing length is 18 - 26 mm.

The one above was disturbed by my dog on a morning walk after rain on a shady path in woods in late July, and the one below was on a wall early one morning, also in late July.

Mottled beauty, Alcis repandata

The Mottled beauty, Alcis repandata, overwinters as a small caterpillar on the stem of the foodplant. Foodplants include blackthorn, hawthorn, oak, birch, many other trees and shrubs and even some herbaceous plants. Eggs are laid in July, and the caterpillars hatch within days. The caterpillar feeds from August, hibernates over winter, then feed again till May. The caterpillar grows up to 40 mm long. It pupates in the soil in May, and adults emerge in June.

It is found near woodlands, on moors and in parks and gardens, and is common.

Mottled beauty

Biston betularia, the Peppered moth

Biston betularia

The Peppered moth, above, showing the colour variation, is found across Europe to Asia Minor, and is common in most areas of the U. K., and below one caught in north-east Scotland. The squares are 0.5 cm.

Biston betularia, Peppered moth, adult

The eggs are laid in June.

Biston betularia, Peppered moth, caterpillar

The caterpillar (above) grows up to 60 mm long, and is a purplish/brown or brownish/green. It is found in woodlands, parks gardens and hedgerows. Its foodplants include oak, silver birch, elm, beech, sallow and many other deciduous trees and shrubs. It feeds from July to September at night, and by day remains still and well camouflaged on the foodplant. In autumn it moves to ground level where it pupates (see empty pupal case below) in the soil at the base of the foodplant.

Biston betularia, Peppered moth, pupal case

Adults emerge the following May. The adult forewing length is 22 - 28 mm. Darker adults are found more often in industrial areas, correlating with levels of atmospheric pollution

Ourapteryx sambucaria, Swallow-tailed moth

Ourapteryx sambucaria, Swallow-tailed moth

Ourapteryx sambucaria, the Swallow-tailed moth, above, is common and widespread in lowland Europe, and widespread in the U. K as far north as Aberdeenshire. It can be found in woodland and hedgerows. Its foodplants include hawthorn, blackthorn, elder, privet, ivy, and many more trees and shrubs.

Eggs are laid in batches on the underside of leaves in July. The caterpillars (see below) hatch in August, and feed all summer. Then hibernate in a crevice or crack of the foodplant, and start feeding again the following spring. The caterpillars tend to rest during the day, with their bodies held straight and rigid, resembling a twig, making them almost impossible to detect. Caterpillar length is up to 50 mm, and the body colour varies. By June the caterpillar makes a cocoon of silk and leaf fragments suspended under a twig and pupates.

Swallow-tailed moth caterpillar

The adults emerge in July. Forewing length is 22 - 30 mm. They are a pale lemon-yellow when alive, which fades to white after death. The female is usually larger than the male. They fly at dusk in parks, gardens and especially cemeteries.

Eupithecia centaureata, the Lime speck pug

Eupithecia centaureata, the Lime speck

The Lime speck pug moth, Eupithecia centaureata, is above. In the south there are two generations a year. It is common in England, Wales and lowland Scotland as well as the Hebrides, the Channel Islands and Ireland.

The caterpillar is seen from May - October. Its foodplants are mainly low-growing, and include, ragwort, mugwort, common knapweed, field scabious, yarrow, and Michaelmas daises. It feeds on the flowers of its foodplants. It is found in open habitats such as gardens, hedgerows, roadsides, open woodland and dunes. It overwinters as a pupa in loose earth and plant debris. Caterpillar length is up to 19 mm.

The adults fly from April - October in the south, and May - August further north. The adult forewing length is 10 - 12 mm.