The herald (moth)
Technical description and variation
Wingspan of about 44 mm. Wings ample; the forewing angled in middle of termen, concave between the angle and the acute apex. Forewing grey mixed with ochreous, with fuscous striae, posteriorly with a rosy tinge: the veins terminally whitish; an irregular median suffusion reaching from base to middle, orange red more or less mixed with yellow; inner and outer lines pale with dark edges; a white spot at base on median vein; a white dot represents the orbicular stigma; reniform formed of two black dots; hindwing fuscous, paler at base; ab. suffusa Tutt is a scarce dark form without the usual rosy tinge in the terminal area of forewing;ab. pallidior Spul. includes pale whitish grey looking examples; while pallida Spul. refers to pale more yellowish specimens from Turkestan.
The herald's flight period is between June and November, in one or two broods. During the winter the herald moth hibernates in dark, cool structures (e.g. cellars, barns and caves), returning to take wing again from March to June. Its habitat is woodland parks and gardens, and (perhaps consequently) the resting wing pattern resembles a dead, shriveled leaf.
Herald caterpillars are a bright green shade common to many caterpillars. They are distinguished by the thin yellow lines running across the body between segments. When maturity is reached, they pupate between two leaves, in a white cocoon made of silk.
Larval food plants include,
- Ivy blossom
- Ripe blackberries
- "Herald Moths". UK Safari. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- 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
Media related to Scoliopteryx libatrix at Wikimedia Commons
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