Alder Kitten Notodontidae

Furcula bicuspis (Borkhausen, 1790)

Description: Wingspan 40-48mm. Adults have white forewings with a broad, darkish-brown central band and dark patches near the apex of the forewing. There is also a series of black dots above the band and along the outer edge of the forewing. The thorax is dark grey-brown and quite hairy. The abdomen is white with grey bands between segments. The hindwings are white with brown veining.

Similar Species: Sallow and Poplar Kittens; check size and banding

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Mid-May to early July in Britain according to Skinner. Only one N. Irish record.

Status: Rare recorded at light for the first time in N.Ireland at Legatillida, Fermanagh in 2001. This is also the first record for this species in Ireland. In Britain it is quite local and mainly confined to western counties and parts of southeast England.

Ecology: A rare species, mainly associated with damp woodland and marshy areas. Skinner states that both sexes come frequently to light in small numbers. The larvae are similar in appearance to the other kittens and should be examined carefully to confirm identification. Skinner gives July to September as the most productive period for finding larvae. The recorded foodplants are birch Betula spp. and Alder Alnus glutinosa. It overwinters inside a tough cocoon attached to the trunk or branch of the foodplant.

World Distribution: Throughout northern and central Europe as far east as Siberia.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 1996 Agassiz number: 71.006

Additional information:

UK Moths account

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