Smoky Wave Geometridae

Scopula ternata (Schrank, 1802)

Description: Wingspan 20-29mm. Adults are greyish white with median cross lines which are continuous across both wings.

Similar Species: Closely resembles the Cream Wave S. floslactata floslactata and the Lesser Cream Wave S. immutata. All three species require careful examination to confirm identification.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Skinner gives June and July as the flight period. Recorded in N. Ireland in late-June.

Status: Rare, recorded for the first time in N. Ireland at Murlough Bay on the north Antrim coast in 1997. It was previously regarded as doubtful in Ireland, although old records exist for Kerry and Waterford. The specimen was initially thought to be the Cream Wave S. floslactata but was later examined by a leading British expert and confirmed as being this species. The moth is widely distributed in Britain. Further fieldwork is necessary to establish is distribution.

Ecology: A heathland species. The larvae can be found from August to May on Heather Calluna vulgaris and Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus. Adults may be disturbed during the day from vegetation and it is also reported to fly in late afternoon sunshine. It overwinters as a larva.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 1694 Agassiz number: 70.026

Additional information:

UK Moths account


 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland