Large Ear Noctuidae

Amphipoea lucens (Freyer, 1845)

Description: Wingspan 30-36 mm. Forewings long and narrow; colour can be variable usually a rich reddish brown. Reniform stigma is large often orange or occasionally white or yellow. Reniform stigma usually conspicuous generally orange or yellow but never white. Antemedian and post median lines darker and clearly visible. The termen comprises a fine pale and dark line fused together. Hindwings dark fuscous with a discal spot and paler fringe.

Similar Species: The three 'ears' Amphipoea are extremely variable in size and wing pattern and certain identification requires examination of the genitalia.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Beginning of August to early October.

Status: The distribution of this and the other 'ears' is not well-known as identification of the three species is difficult. Since many of the older records are not supported by voucher specimens their validity must be doubtful. Recent fieldwork carried out in some localities such as Fermanagh and Tyrone have retained specimens for dissection. These have confirmed that this species is present at Davagh Forest, Tyrone and Aughinlig, Armagh and Correl Glen National Nature Reserve, Fermanagh.

Ecology: Little is known about its habits in N. Ireland. Although Baynes described this species as mainly coastal, many of the confirmed records are from inland sites. Adults are attracted to light and flowers, especially rushes Juncus spp. The larvae feed from May to July on Purple Moor-grass Molinia caerulea. It overwinters as an egg.

World Distribution: In Europe it is mainly restricted to northern Germany and Fennoscandia where it occurs mainly in coastal localities.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2357 Agassiz number: 73.127

Additional information:

UK Moths account


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