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moth Red Underwing Moths

Identify It >   Moth Section >   Red Underwing Moths >

Scientific name:  Catocala nupta

Size:  Wingspan approximately 80mm

Distribution:  Red Underwings are fairly common in the south of England, but become scarce further north

Months seen:  July to September

Habitat:  Woodlands, hedgerows and gardens

Food:  Caterpillars feed on willow and poplar

Special features:  There are 300 species of Noctuid Moth in the UK, and of these, the Red Underwing Moths are the largest.  When resting during the day they are almost invisible, perfectly camouflaged against the bark of a tree.  When disturbed they flash their bright black and red 'petticoats' in an effort to surprise any attacker, such as a bird.

The Red Underwing larvae are equally well camouflaged. The body is pale grey in colour and the head is pale brown with black speckling.  It has a raised hump on its 8th segment with a narrow, dark coloured band arond it.  On it's 11th segment there is another raised bump.  The larvae can sometimes be found under loose bark on willow and poplar trees.

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