Clifden Nonpareil Noctuidae

Catocala fraxini (Linnaeus, 1758)

Description: Wingspan 90-106 mm. A very large distinctive moth, which is unlikely to be confused with any other N. Ireland species. Forewings are mottled light and dark grey. Postmedian fascia darker on both sides; reniform stigmata dark and outlined in black with a cream patch below it. Terminal fascia crescent-shaped. Hindwings dark brown with a dull blue band and white fringe.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: Skinner gives September as the main flying period in Britain.

Status: A rare migrant that has only been recorded once in N. Ireland from Londonderry many years ago in 1896. There is also an old record for Kingstown in the Dublin area in 1845.

Ecology: This large distinctive species is resident in northern and central Europe. Adults are occasionally recorded in very small numbers from south west England, but individuals are seldom ever found further north. Adults come sparingly to light but have a stronger attraction to sugar. The adults rest by day on the trunks of trees (particularly oak Quercus spp.), fence posts and walls. The larvae have been reared on various species of poplar Populus spp. It overwinters as an egg.

World Distribution: A Palaearctic species; in western Europe is widespread from northern Spain to Sweden and Finland.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 2451 Agassiz number: 72.076

Additional information:

UK Moths account

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