Small Phoenix Geometridae

Ecliptopera silaceata (Denis & Schiff., 1775)

Description: Wingspan 29-34mm. Wings generally dark with an intricate pattern of white lines and dark makings with a dark central band. The central band is fragmented and interrupted with fine white lines.

Similar Species: The Phoenix has similarly patterned forewings but it is a larger species. Also the wings are paler and the central band is normally intact.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: From the beginning of May to early September.

Status: Widespread across the southern half of the province. There have been no records from north of Lough Neagh since the 1970s when it was recorded at Banagher Glen NNR, Londonderry. Increased fieldwork in the south has produced new records from well-trapped localities such as Rostrevor Oakwood NNR and Castlewellan Forest Park, Down, Gosford Forest Park, Armagh, Crom, Garvary Wood and Gortmaconnel Rock, Fermanagh and Rehaghy Mountain, Tyrone. One can only assume its scarcity further north is due to limited fieldwork here in recent years; increased trapping effort may discover other colonies, especially in areas where its foodplants grow abundantly.

Ecology: A species that occurs in a variety of habitats including woodland margins, clearings and bogs. Adults are attracted to light and appear frequently in small numbers. The larvae feed on willowherbs Epilobium spp. It overwinters as a pupa.

World Distribution: Northern and central Europe and Asia to eastern Siberia.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 1759 Agassiz number: 70.094

Additional information:

UK Moths account


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