Muslin Moth Arctiidae

Diaphora mendica (Clerck, 1759)

Description: Wingspan 30-43mm. Forewings creamy white in male, silky white in female. Hindwings similar in colour marked with a small discal spot and a variable number of small dots near the outer margin of the wing. The abdomen is white with a series of black marks along the dorsal surface. Colouring is variable with some adults having slight ochreous tint to the forewings.

Similar Species: White Ermine Spilosoma lubricipeda which has more extensive black markings on the wings and a yellow and black abdomen.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: From the beginning of May until late-June.

Status: A commonly recorded species across north Armagh and Down with scattered localities in other counties. Less frequent than both the White and Buff Ermines.

Ecology: A species associated with damp woodland, bogs, and marshy areas. The males appear frequently at light in small numbers. The larvae feed from July until September on dock Rumex spp, plantain Plantago spp, Dandelion Taraxacum officinale and possibly other herbaceous plants. It overwinters as a pupa.

World Distribution: Across northern and central Europe as far east as Asia Minor.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2063 Agassiz number: 72.022

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=6149

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