Northern Winter Moth Geometridae

Operophtera fagata (Scharfenberg, 1805)

Description: Wingspan 32-40mm.

Similar Species: Similar in colour to the Winter Moth but larger and paler with a glossy sheen. Also has a more restricted flight period. Females are wingless.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Throughout November.

Status: Scarce; confirmed with certainty in Northern Ireland for the first time in 1998 at Monmurray Bog, Fermanagh. Since its discovery there have been other Fermanagh records from White Park Bog and Tattinamona near Brookeborough. In 2001 large numbers of adults were seen at Rehaghy Mountain, Tyrone. It was formerly recorded from Favour Royal near Aughnacloy, Tyrone in the last century although these early records were regarded by many as dubious. Old records from Down have also been regarded by many as doubtful. This should be reconsidered in the light of its discovery in Fermanagh and Tyrone.

Ecology: This moth is associated with bogs and heaths where birch Betula spp flourish. Adults have been observed by torchlight in large numbers after dark at one site sitting on the finer branches and trunks of birch trees. The larvae can be found from April to June on birch Betula spp. and apple Malus spp.

World Distribution: Northern and Central Europe to eastern Russia.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 1800 Agassiz number: 70.105

Additional information:

UK Moths account


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