Straw Underwing Noctuidae

Thalpophila matura (Hufnagel, 1766)

Description: Wingspan 38-46 mm. Forewings are deep reddish brown with pale antemedian and post median lines which are edged with black. The latter is wider towards the dorsum and resembles a white streak. Stigmata similar to ground colour and edged with a fine whitish line. Subterminal line is pale and irregular. Hindwings are light straw with a darker fuscous border.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Beginning of July to mid-August.

Status: Mainly coastal in N. Ireland. Most of the recent records are from sites in Down including Killard Point National Nature Reserve, Murlough National Nature Reserve and Rostrevor. It has also been taken at the Umbra and Magilligan Dunes, Londonderry and Rathlin Island, Antrim.

Ecology: All the recent records have been from coastal habitats. It is difficult to establish whether there is a genuine decline or due to bias in recording effort. Adults come frequently to light in moderate numbers and will often visit flowers, especially those of Ragwort Senecio jacobaea. The larvae feed on various grasses from autumn to May. It overwinters as a larva.

World Distribution: Throughout western Europe from Portugal to southern Sweden and Norway.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2303 Agassiz number: 73.109

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=6399

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