Portland Moth Noctuidae

Actebia praecox (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: Wingspan 40-46mm. A distinctive species easily recognised by the green and brown markings on the forewings. Terminal band darker; stigmata large, white in colour, with a darkish- brown centre; crosslines fine with pale edges. Hindwings shiny pale brown with white chequered fringe.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Unknown in N. Ireland. Late August and September in Britain.

Status: A rare species that has declined. Foster described it as being abundant on the dunes at Murlough, Down in the early 1930s. It was last recorded at Murlough National Nature Reserve in 1978. Other records include Tollymore, Down in 1973, Portballintrae and Portrush, Antrim in 1903. It occurs along the north and western Irish coastline in Cos. Donegal, Mayo, Galway, Clare and Cork.

Ecology: A declining species, which favours coastal dunes and heathland. Adults are attracted to light and also flowers especially Ragwort Senecio jacobaea and Heather Calluna vulgaris. The larvae are nocturnal and rest by day concealed in the sand near the foodplant. They feed from September until June on Creeping Willow Salix repens. It overwinters as a larva.

World Distribution: Throughout western Europe as far south as Portugal reaching north to Scandinavia.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2099 Agassiz number: 73.308

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=6185

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