Sprawler Noctuidae

Maps updated: April 2008

Brachionycha sphinx (Hufnagel, 1766)

Description: Wingspan 38-48 mm. Forewings brownish grey with occasional darker longitudinal streaks. Basal streak darker brown. The antemedian and postmedian lines are absent. Hindwings pale whitish brown with darker veining and slightly darker fringe. There is a small fine broken line at the outer margin.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Mid-October to mid-November.

Status: Scarce; restricted to a few sites in Tyrone and a single site in Fermanagh. This species was first discovered at Crom Estate, Fermanagh in 1992. Since then it has been taken in small numbers in most years. Since the mid-1990's it has been found at Rehaghy Mountain, Crilly, Lemnagore Wood, and more recently Caledon Estate, all in Tyrone.

Ecology: A large autumnal species associated mainly with mature deciduous woodland, particularly in old established estates. Adults come to light, usually after midnight in very small numbers, but adults do not feed. They rest by day on tree trunks and old fence posts. The larvae feed during May and June on Hazel Corylus avellana, oak Quercus spp., Ash Fraxinus excelsior and willow Salix spp. It overwinters as an egg.

World Distribution: Throughout western Europe from Spain to southern Sweden.

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=6320

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