Shark (moth)

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Cucullia umbratica
Cucullia umbratica01.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Noctuidae
Genus: Cucullia
Species: C. umbratica
Binomial name
Cucullia umbratica
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The shark (Cucullia umbratica) is a moth of the family Noctuidae. It is distributed throughout much of the Palearctic ecozone (Europe, Russia, Afghanistan, Turkestan, Mongolia), but has recently also been reported from North America, from the Magdalen Islands in Canada.

female (bottom) male (top)

This is a fairly large species (wingspan 52–59 mm) with long, narrow wings giving a 'streamlined' appearance. The forewings are grey with brown and black streaks. The hindwings are grey in the male, brown in the female. It flies at night in June and July [1] and is attracted to light and a variety of flowers.

Technical description[edit]

Forewing dull brownish grey, the cell and space beyond paler, dull greyish buff; a fine black line from base below cell; the usual lines and stigmata ill-defined; orbicular represented by 2 or 3 dark points, reniform by a curved black line at lower end; slight black dashes before termen above vein 3 and below vein 2, and a longer black streak above middle of vein 4; hindwing of male white, with the veins and termen narrowly fuscous; of female wholly brown, with paler base.[1]

The larva is grey or brown with black spots. It feeds mainly on sow thistles and lettuces but other food plants have been recorded (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]




  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]