Vestal Geometridae

Maps updated: April 2008

Rhodometra sacraria (Linnaeus, 1767)

Description: Wingspan 22-28mm. Adults are generally pale ochreous yellow, (although some individuals can be crimson) with a distinctive oblique stripe that runs from the apex of the forewing to the inner margin. The hindwings are pale, creamy white and unmarked.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Adults have been recorded in June and from August to October.

Status: A southern European species that frequently migrates north and in some years appears in small numbers in N. Ireland. As one would expect with a migrant, records are concentrated in the south and east. Prior to 1990 it had been recorded just six times. Since then it has been more frequently reported in a variety of habitats including some suburban gardens. Since 1990 individuals have been reported in 1992, 95, 96, 98, 99 and 2000 mainly on the Down coast but also inland in Armagh, Tyrone and in Belfast.

Ecology: An attractive migrant that appears occasionally in N. Ireland. Adults are unlikely to breed here since they require constant warmth. The larvae are continually brooded and have been reared in captivity on Knotgrass Polygonum aviculare and dock Rumex spp.

Caterpillar: 

 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland
http://www.ulstermuseum.org.uk/lepidoptera/species.asp?item=5789

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