Spring Usher Geometridae

Agriopis leucophaearia (Denis & Schiff., 1775)

Description: Wingspan 31-37mm. Adults males are whitish brown with large areas of the forewings being a darker brown, although individuals can be variable in both colour and pattern. The hindwings are pale whitish brown. The females are wingless.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside female upperside

Flight Period: Unknown in N. Ireland. Skinner gives mid-February to mid-March as the flight period.

Status: Rare, recorded only once in the past from Enniskillen in 1893. It was generally believed that this species was extinct, since there were no recent records to confirm its continued existence in N. Ireland. However, regular trapping at Belvoir Park Forest produced a single adult in 2001. Despite intensive monitoring at this well-known site, no other individuals have been taken. The only other known record for this species in Ireland was from Bray Head Wicklow in 1914, this was deemed at the time to be a stray.

Ecology: An early spring species with a short flight period, found mainly in woodland and parkland. Its early flight period coupled with low-key recording in the past hasn't produced any other records. Its rediscovery in N. Ireland may indicate that there may be other small localised populations at other potentially suitable localities such as, Crom and Rostrevor. Males are attracted to light and according to Skinner may occasionally be found during the day at rest on fences and tree trunks. The wingless females are best looked for after dark by examining the trunks of trees. The larvae can be found from April to June mainly on oak Quercus spp. It over winters in the pupal stage.

World Distribution: Across Europe to eastern Siberia and Japan.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 1932 Agassiz number: 70.253

Additional information:

UK Moths account

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=6023

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