Little Emerald Geometridae

Jodis lactearia (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: Wingspan 23-26mm. This is the smallest of the emeralds found in Northern Ireland. The adult is pale green with 2 white medial lines on the fore and hindwings when freshly emerged. However, in common with other emeralds the green pigmentation is very unstable and disappears within a short period of time after emergence. Its true colour is rarely observed in adults trapped in the wild. Adults captured at light will often look remarkably fresh, even though their colour is usually white with a slight greenish tinge.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Mid-May to the end of June.

Status: Widely distributed but local, reported mainly from woodland habitats such as Derryleckagh, Bohill NNR, and Rostrevor NNR, Down, where much of the recent fieldwork has been targeting rarer species. It has also been recorded from Marble Arch and Florencecourt in the early 1990s, and more recently Correl Glen NNR, Fermanagh. Other recent records include Rehaghy, Tyrone and Glenarm, Antrim - similar sites in the east may have further undetected populations.

Ecology: This is a woodland species. The moth rests by day among the foliage of trees where it can be beaten from the branches by the diligent searcher. It flies at dusk along woodland clearings but rarely comes to light so is perhaps under recorded in some localities. The majority of recent records are of individuals disturbed or beaten from the foliage of trees such as hazel during the day. The larvae can be found during August and September on various trees and woody plants including birch Betula spp., oak Quercus spp., Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus and Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna. It overwinters as a pupa.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 1674 Agassiz number: 70.303

Additional information:

UK Moths account


 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland