Winter moth

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In North America, "winter moth" usually denotes the closely related Operophtera bruceata, but may also mean the less close relative Erannis tiliaria (Linden looper).
Winter moth
Operophtera brumata01.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Geometridae
Genus: Operophtera
Species: O. brumata
Binomial name
Operophtera brumata
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The winter moth (Operophtera brumata) is a moth of the family Geometridae. It is an abundant species of Europe and the Near East and one of very few Lepidoptera of temperate regions in which the adults are active in the depth of winter.

The female of this species is virtually wingless and cannot fly, but the male is fully winged and flies strongly.

Winter moths are considered an invasive species in North America; Nova Scotia experienced the first confirmed infestations in the 1930s. The moth is now found in British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Maine.[1] In Massachusetts, the moths have attracted the attention of several media outlets due to the severity of the infestation.[2] In northern Rhode Island, damage to fruit orchards has been attributed to winter moth, and it is now reported in mid-southern Rhode Island (Bristol/Barrington area and Warwick). Efforts at biological control are underway.[3] There have been unconfirmed reports of infestations in southern New Hampshire.


The forewing ground colour varies from grey-yellow to beige-brown or occasionally slightly reddish tinted. The patterns are often band-shaped dark brownish, often indistinct.The fringe is yellowish. The hindwings are pale grey or yellow grey.The antennae are short and finely hairy. The flightless female, has a brownish grey body color. It has rudimentary wing stubs, which are coloured brown to grey and have dark bands.


Northern and Central Europe. In the South, its range extends to after Northern Italy, in the East to the Caucasus and Asia Minor. In the North to the Baltic. Also New England.

Life Cycle[edit]

Recorded food plants[edit]


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


  1. ^ Cairn, North (8 December 2012). "Experts: Destructive winter moths are spreading". Portland Press Herald. Portland, Maine. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  2. ^ Noonan, Erica (3 December 2009). "Mystery Pests". Boston Globe. Boston, Massachusetts. Retrieved 9 December 2012. 
  3. ^ Hempe, Rudi (5 May 2011). "URI launches winter moth counter-attack". College of the Environment and Life Sciences. Retrieved 10 December 2011. 
  • 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
  • The pest control of the chestnut tree by Dr Péter Szentiványi. Chestnut - Agricultural Publisher. For Sarkpont Cc., Hungary.

External links[edit]