Buff-tip Notodontidae

Phalera bucephala (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: Wingspan 55-68mm. Adults of this species are easily recognised by the silvery-grey coloured forewings, the small discal spot and the large buff coloured patch at the apex of the forewing. The hindwings are pale yellow, darkening towards the basal area. The thorax is a dark buff colour. When resting the adult holds its wings tightly along its body giving a very convincing impression of a broken birch twig.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Mid-May to early September.

Status: Common and widely distributed in southern counties but apparently scarcer north of Lough Neagh and not recorded from Rathlin Island.

Ecology: The Buff-tip occurs in a wide variety of habitats, but is most commonly encountered in woodland, bogs and marshy areas. Adults come frequently to light in moderate numbers. The larvae are gregarious until the latter instars and are occasionally seen in full view on the branches of the foodplant. They are normally found between June and September. In N. Ireland larvae have been found on birch Betula spp, willow Salix spp. and Ash Fraxinus excelsior. It overwinters as a pupa

World Distribution: Throughout Europe as far east as Siberia.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 1994 Agassiz number: 71.025

Additional information:

UK Moths account


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