Small Mottled Willow Noctuidae

Spodoptera exigua (Hubner, 1808)

Description: Wingspan 26-32 mm. Forewings range from pale brown to greyish brown with darker speckling. Reniform stigma more conspicuous and outlined with a fine pale line. Termenal area darker with small spots between veins. Hindwings opal white with fine dark veining.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Adults have been trapped in July and August in N. Ireland. According to Skinner the flight period in Britain is from mid-July to October.

Status: This is an occasional immigrant to Ireland. It has been recorded five times in N. Ireland including at Moy, Tyrone, and Killynick, Fermanagh (both in 2000) and at Dundrum and Murlough National Nature Reserve, Down (both in 1998). It was first recorded in 1903 at Raughlan on the south shore of Lough Neagh, Armagh.

Ecology: A cosmopolitan species which is regarded as a pest in warmer parts of its range. Adults are attracted to light and may occasionally be found at the flowers of Buddleia Buddleja davidii, and Ivy Hedera helix. They can occasionally be disturbed from grassy habitats during the day. It seems unlikely that the larvae would survive to maturity in N. Ireland. In Britain, there have been several claims of successful larval development but none have been conclusively proved.

World Distribution: World-wide; in western Europe it is not uncommon and has been recorded from central France, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2385 Agassiz number: 73.087

Additional information:

UK Moths account


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