Old Lady Noctuidae

Mormo maura (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: Wingspan 64-74 mm. Forewings are rich chocolate brown marked with scalloped lines appearing like a shawl. The median fascia is large and darker than the ground colour making the curved antemedian line more conspicuous. The postmedian line is straighter. There are two black spots near the basal area and a paler brown patch at the apex of the forewing. The hindwings are dark chocolate brown, with a pale postmedian line; the fringe is pale straw.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Early July to late August.

Status: Widely distributed in scattered localities across all counties.

Ecology: A large, charismatic species recorded from a variety of damp and wetland habitats especially near wooded streams, river banks and suburban gardens. Adults show little interest in light and as a result are seldom found in traps. When it does appear at light it seems to show a preference for actinic light rather than mercury vapour traps, since many of the adults captured have been taken in Heath Traps. It also feeds on sap runs and honeydew. Adults rest by day inside old buildings and under old stone bridges and boathouses close to streams and rivers. The larvae feed from September to May on various trees and shrubs such as Blackthorn Prunus spinosa, Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, willow Salix spp. and birch Betula spp. It overwinters as a small larva.

World Distribution: Widespread but local in western Europe, occurring as far north as the Netherlands and south to the Mediterranean.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2300 Agassiz number: 73.107

Additional information:

UK Moths account


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