Archer's Dart Noctuidae

Agrotis vestigialis (Hufnagel, 1766)

Description: Wingspan 30-40mm. Adults of this species vary considerably in colour throughout its range. The forewings vary from pale whitish grey to dark brown. The stigmata are usually darker and there are a series of dark, wedge-shaped markings near the outer margin of the forewing.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Beginning of July to late September.

Status: A local species; all recent records are from coastal localities. It has been regularly recorded at Murlough National Nature Reserve, Ballykinler and Killard Point National Nature Reserve, Down, and at the Umbra and Magilligan, Londonderry. The sole Irish inland is from the shoreline of Lough Neagh (Washing Bay, Tyrone 1916). It is not known if this population still exists.

Ecology: A species normally associated with coastal heaths and sandhills. Adults are frequently seen at light in moderate numbers. Individuals are occasionally found by day, usually in early morning, at rest on low-growing vegetation and on flowers including Ragwort Senecio vulgaris and Heather Calluna vulgaris. The larvae feed from September until May of the following year on various grasses and other low-growing plants. It overwinters as a larva.

World Distribution: Throughout western Europe as far north as Finland and south to Portugal.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2085 Agassiz number: 73.322

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=6171

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