Satellite (moth)

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The Satellite
Eupsilia transversa01.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Noctuidae
Genus: Eupsilia
Species: E. transversa
Binomial name
Eupsilia transversa
(Hufnagel, 1766)

The Satellite (Eupsilia transversa) is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It is distributed throughout the Palearctic.

Illustration from John Curtis's British Entomology Volume 5

This is a fairly variable species with greyish or reddish brown forewings, often marked with darker bands. The common name derives from the prominent stigma, ranging in colour from white or yellow to red, which has two smaller spots close to it, apparently “in orbit”. The hindwings are brown with a paler fringe. The wingspan is 40–48 mm. This species flies at night from September to April [1] and is active on mild nights throughout the winter. It will come to light but is more strongly attracted to sugar and various flowers.


The species ranges from Ireland to Japan. Specifically, south to northern Spain, Sardinia, central Italy then Macedonia, Bulgaria, Asia Minor and the Caucasus east to Central Asia and the Russian Far East and Siberia before reaching Japan. In the north, the geographical presence extends to Scotland and the Orkney Islands. Individuals are reported in Iceland. In Fennoscandia the range extends almost to the Arctic Circle, as well as in northern Russia. The species is very cold tolerant and lives in a variety of habitats, from forests to open grasslands, from the lowlands up to above the tree line. From temperate areas to the subarctic tundra. The species rises up to 1800 m in the Alps.

Technical description and variation[edit]

Forewing grey brown, with deeper suffusion; inner and outer lines fine, and more or less erect, the inner straight, the outer waved; a bent median shade, one before the inner line, and another close beyond the outer; submarginal line pale, interrupted, preceded and followed by dark shades; claviform and orbicular stigmata obsolete; reniform in the type form orange yellow, with a white dot above and below it; fringe concolorous, preceded by pale marginal lunules; hindwing fuscous brown. Linne's type form, showing a yellow reniform with two white dots, especially in combination with the grey-brown ground colour, is decidedly rare; as a rule, when the reniform is yellow, the tendency is for the upper, and often the lower also, of the two dots to become yellow also; when all three spots are deep reddish orange we have the form brunnea Lampa; albipuncta Strand is the form with white reniform, in which the dots also are always white; the term rufescens Tutt, in which the ground colour is more or less rufous tinged, would apply to the more ordinary European form as well as to the British.[1]


The larva usually feeds on trees and shrubs (see list below) but has also been recorded on dandelion and also frequently eats the larvae of other species.

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

Recorded food plants[edit]

See Robinson, G. S. et al.[2]


  1. ^ Seitz, A. Ed., 1914 Die Großschmetterlinge der Erde, Verlag Alfred Kernen, Stuttgart Band 3: Abt. 1, Die Großschmetterlinge des palaearktischen Faunengebietes, Die palaearktischen eulenartigen Nachtfalter, 1914
  2. ^ "Robinson, G. S., P. R. Ackery, I. J. Kitching, G. W. Beccaloni & L. M. Hernández, 2010. HOSTS – A Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants. Natural History Museum, London.". 
  • Chinery, Michael Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe 1986 (Reprinted 1991)
  • Skinner, Bernard Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles 1984

External links[edit]