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Scientific classification
P. bucephala
Binomial name
Phalera bucephala
Illustration from John Curtis's British Entomology Volume 5

The buff-tip (Phalera bucephala) is a moth of the family Notodontidae. It is found throughout Europe and in Asia to eastern Siberia.[1] The species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae.


This is a fairly large, heavy-bodied species with a wingspan of 55–68 mm. The forewings are grey with a large prominent buff patch at the apex. As the thoracic hair is also buff, the moth resembles a broken twig when at rest. The hindwings are creamy white. This moth flies at night in June and July[1] and sometimes comes to light, although it is not generally strongly attracted.

The young larvae are gregarious, becoming solitary later. The older larva is very striking, black with white and yellow lines. It feeds on many trees and shrubs (see list below). The species overwinters as a pupa.

  1. ^ The flight season refers to the British Isles. This may vary in other parts of the range.

Recorded food plants[edit]

For details see Robinson et al., 2010.[2]


  • P. b. bucephala
  • P. b. tenebrata



  1. ^ Heath, John; Maitland Emmet, A, eds. (1983). The Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland. Volume 9. Sphringidae - Noctuidae. Colchester: Harley Books. p. 41.
  2. ^ Robinson, Gaden S.; Ackery, Phillip R.; Kitching, Ian J.; Beccaloni, George W.; Hernández, Luis M. (2010). "Search the database - introduction and help". HOSTS - A Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants. Natural History Museum, London.

Further reading[edit]

  • South R. (1907) The Moths of the British Isles, (First Series), Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd., London & NY: 359 pp. online

External links[edit]