Spectacle Noctuidae

Abrostola tripartita (Hufnagel, 1766)

Description: Wingspan 32-38 mm. This species takes its name from the spectacle-shaped markings on the thorax which are visible when viewed from the front. Forewings pale grey, darker in the median area with silver sub basal and terminal patches and a small black apical streak. Antemedian and postmedian lines black; the former is convex the latter fades away towards the costa. Hindwings pale fuscous with a darker terminal shading.

Similar Species: The Dark Spectacle A. triplasia see text

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Early May to mid-August.

Status: Widely distributed across all counties including Rathlin Island.

Ecology: A common species found in a variety of habitats including woodland clearings, bogs, fens and mature gardens. Adults come frequently to light and flowers especially Red Valerian Centranthus ruber. The larvae feed from July to September on nettles Urtica spp. It overwinters as a pupa.

World Distribution: Eurasiatic; common and widespread throughout western Europe as far north as Fennoscandia.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2450 Agassiz number: 73.001

Additional information:

UK Moths account


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