Winter Moth Geometridae

Operophtera brumata (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: Wingspan 28-33mm. Adults are variable in colour and mainly darkish brown with a series of narrow wavy lines across the forewings. The females are wingless.

Similar Species: Adults closely resemble the Northern Winter Moth Operophtera fagata which is larger, paler and has a more restricted flight period.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Beginning of November to the end of January.

Status: Widely distributed over most counties. The majority of records are from sites in the east where trapping is carried out during the winter. Undoubtedly under recorded in many areas particularly in the west where little mid-winter trapping has been done.

Ecology: Found in a variety of habitats which have trees including urban gardens. Males come frequently to light in reasonable numbers. The wingless females are to be found at night resting on the trunks and the finer branches of trees. The larvae can be found from April to June on a wide variety of trees including birch Betula spp., Blackthorn Prunus spinosa, Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, Hazel Corylus avellana and willow Salix spp.

World Distribution: Throughout northern and central Europe.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 1799 Agassiz number: 70.106

Additional information:

UK Moths account


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