True Lover's Knot

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This article is about the animal. For the rope knot, see True lover's knot.
True Lover's Knot
Lycophotia porphyrea.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Noctuidae
Genus: Lycophotia
Species: L. porphyrea
Binomial name
Lycophotia porphyrea
(Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
  • Noctua porphyrea [Schiffermüller], 1775
  • Peridroma porphyrea (Denis and Schiffermueller, 1775)
  • Noctua strigula Thunberg, 1792
  • Phalaena (Noctua) varia Villers, 1789
  • Phalaena (Noctua) concinna Esper, 1790
  • Phalaena (Noctua) concinna Esper, 1804
  • Noctua picta Fabricius, 1794
  • Phalaena ericae Donovan, 1801
  • Noctua ericae Haworth, 1809 (preocc. Phalaena ericae Donovan, 1801)
  • Chersotis marmorea Graslin, 1863
  • Agrotis strigula var. astur Culot, 1909

The True Lover's Knot (Lycophotia porphyrea) is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It is found in the west Palearctic in a wide band through North, Central and Eastern Europe and Russia (up to the Ural mountains). In the South it is spread through northern Spain and Northern Portugal, Northern Italy, Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Northern Greece . In Europe it is found wherever its food plants grow. It is traditionally thought of as a species of heathland and moorland but it can often be found in places where heather and its relatives are in garden cultivation.In the mountains it is found up to an altitude of over 2000 metres a.s.l.


This is a small but attractive species, with a wingspan of 26–34 mm (individuals hatched in higher altitudes tend to be smaller than those from the lowlands). The forewings are brown, often tinged with purple and marked with a complex pattern of white markings which are supposed to recall a true lover's knot. The hindwings are grey or buff. It flies from the latter half of June to the beginning of August[1] and is attracted to light and the flowers of its food plants.

The larva is reddish-brown with pale lines and feeds on heather and related genera (e.g. Erica).[2] The species overwinters as a larva.


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