Clouded Drab Noctuidae

Maps updated: April 2008

Orthosia incerta (Hufnagel, 1766)

Description: Wingspan 34-42 mm. Adults are extremely variable both in colour and markings with many named aberrations and forms. Forewing colour ranges from blackish brown through to pale grey. The stigmata and the subterminal line are more conspicuous in darker forms. Hindwings are variable in colour from whitish brown to fuscous with a small discal spot.

Similar Species: Lead-coloured Drab O. populeti has a more rounded forewing and is slightly smaller. It is also restricted to Fermanagh.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Mid-February to late May.

Status: Common and widespread in southern counties but absent from west Tyrone and north Londonderry.

Ecology: A spring species encountered commonly in woodland habitats. Adults are frequently seen at light. They also visit willow Salix spp. catkins and birch Betula spp. sap. The larvae feed during May and June on a variety of trees including oak Quercus spp. and willow Salix spp. It overwinters as a pupa.

World Distribution: Western Europe as far north as Sweden and Finland.

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=6281

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