Angle Shades Moth (Phlogophora meticulosa)

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Identification of the Angle Shades Moth

There can be few British Isles moths that are so instantly recognisable.

The Angle Shades moth has a wing span of up to 50mm. When at rest the wings are held back alongside its body and have a distinctive upturned fold towards the lower part of the costa.

The subtle shades of greens and browns are wonderfully cryptic when set against a background of autumnal leaves.

It is widely distributed throughout the British Isles but commonest in the south where multiple broods can occur.

The main flight period is between May and October but they can be recorded in almost any month of the year.

The arrival of migrants from Europe can further boost numbers particularly in the south.

Latest news and sightings

Illustrated Guide to Caterpillars

The species occur in a wide range of habitats including gardens, woodlands, fens and coastal regions.

The larval food includes a diverse range of herbaceous plants, shrubs and deciduous trees including dock, bramble, nettle, oak and sallow.

They are readily attracted to light and can often be found nectaring at flowers such as Buddleia at night.

Identification of the Angle Shades Moth caterpillar

The caterpillars grow up to 45mm and may be green or mixed shades of brown, sometimes with hints of yellow.

The head colour varies from green to mottled brown and a fine, pale dorsal line runs down its back.

A broad pale band extends along the length of the body below the spiracular line.

The caterpillars are commonly found by gardeners when weeding.

Caterpillar galleries

Help with caterpillar identification

Once fully grown the caterpillars spin a flimsy cocoon just below the surface of the soil or amongst leaf litter.

Late broods will overwinter as caterpillars and pupate during the spring.

The adult moths emerge after about three weeks depending on the temperature.

Rearing Angle Shades moths

Rearing is easy and females taken in light traps will often lay freely in captivity.

The caterpillars can be fed on a wide range of easily obtainable plants such as dock, bramble and sallow.

In readiness for pupation a thin layer of dried leaves or soil can be provided although caterpillars will readily spin cocoons on the sides of holding containers.

Introduction to rearing

How to rear caterpillars

The caterpillar shown pupating is one unearthed whilst gardening on March 8th. It was already fully grown and days away from pupating.

It was reared in a small, plastic container with air holes and a supply of dock.

It fed intermittently for a few days before spinning a cocoon on the edge of the container.

Twenty days after pupating the adult moth emerged and was released.

Latest news and sightings

Reference books

To supplement information gained from personal studies the following books have been consulted:

Recommended moth reference and caterpillar books

Angle Shades Caterpillar Stock Photos and Images

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  • Small Angle Shades moth caterpillar (Euplexia lucipara) on a bracken frond
  • Close up on the head of an angle shades moth caterpillar (Phlogophora meticulosa) crawling down a twig in a garden in Belvedere
  • Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa), caterpillar
  • Angle shades moth Phlogophora fuliginosa early instar caterpillar looping on a leaf
  • Angle Shades caterpillar
  • Angle Shades moth caterpillar (Phlogophora meticulosa) resting on leaf. Tipperary, Ireland
  • ‘Angle Shades’ caterpillar Phlogophora meticulosa
  • Angle Shades, caterpillar, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany / (Phlogophora meticulosa)
  • Angle shades Phlogophora meticulosa caterpillar on a chrysanthemum plant
  • Caterpillar of Angle Shades Moth
  • Angle shades moth, Phlogophora meticulosa, late instar caterpillar on the seedhead of a standard rose flower, Berkshire, June
  • Angle Shades, caterpillar, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany / (Phlogophora meticulosa) | Achateule, Raupe, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Deutschland
  • Angle shades moth Phlogophora meticulosa caterpillar in a chrysanthemum flower
  • Gelbfleck-Waldschatteneule, Purpurglanzeule, Purpurglanz-Eule, Purpur-Glanzeule, Raupe frisst an Hasel, Euplexia lucipara, small angle shades, caterpi
  • Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa), caterpillar eating an apple
  • Small angle shades caterpillar. Computer illustration of the larva of a small angle shades (Euplexia lucipara) moth. This moth is found throughout the
  • Angle Shades Moth caterpillar (Phlogophora meticulosa) at rest on tree trunk. Tipperary, Ireland
  • Image of a moth caterpillar (Angle Shades Moth) being a pest and eating or feasting on one our lettuce leaves in the rear garden.
  • Closeup of a caterpillar or larva of a angle shades moth (Phlogophora meticulosa) feeding leaves in nature.
  • Caterpillar head and jaws
  • The caterpillar of an angle shades moth (Phlogophora meticulosa) crawling across a leaf in a garden in Belvedere, Kent. November
  • an agle shades moth caterpillar rest on a tree branch
  • The caterpillar of an angle shades moth (Phlogophora meticulosa) crawling across a leaf in a garden in Belvedere, Kent. November
  • Angle shades (Phlogophora meticulosa) moth caterpillar. A mature caterpillar in the family Noctuidae, active in winter
  • Angle Shades Moth larva
  • ‘Angle Shades’ caterpillar Phlogophora meticulosa
  • Angle Shades moth caterpillar (Phlogophora meticulosa), green form (there is also a brown form).
  • Frosted orange moth, Gortyna flavago 1,2, and angle shades, Phlogophora meticulosa 3-7 . Handcoloured copperplate engraving by Johann Carl Bock after Eugenius Johann Christoph Esper’s Die Schmetterlinge in Abbildungen nach der Natur, Erlangen, 1786.
  • Angle Shades – Phlogophora meticulosa
  • Angle shades moth, Phlogophora meticulosa, oak hook-tip, Watsonalla binaria, Mother Shipton moth, Callistege mi, speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria, barred hook-tip, Watsonalla cultraria, brown china mark, Elophila nymphaeata, and maid of honour, Hipparchus bajularius. Handcoloured lithograph after an illustration by Moses Harris from ‘The Aurelian; a Natural History of English Moths and Butterflies,’ new edition edited by J. O. Westwood, published by Henry Bohn, London, 1840.
  • Angle Shades, caterpillar, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany / (Phlogophora meticulosa) | Achateule, Raupe, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Deutschland
  • Angle shades moth (Phlogophora meticulosa). Illustration from ‘The Aurelian: or, Natural History of Insects; Namely Moths and Butterflies together. To
  • Gelbfleck-Waldschatteneule, Purpurglanzeule, Purpurglanz-Eule, Purpur-Glanzeule, Raupe frisst an Hasel, Euplexia lucipara, small angle shades, caterpi
  • Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa), caterpillar eating an apple
  • Angle Shades caterpillar, bright green variety, Phlogophora meticulosa, UK
  • Caterpillar, Angleshade or Angle Shade Moth (Phlogophora meticulosa), North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • Angle Shades Moth caterpillar (Phlogophora meticulosa) on side of tree branch. Tipperary, Ireland
  • Closeup of a caterpillar or larva of a angle shades moth (Phlogophora meticulosa) feeding leaves in nature.
  • Close up view of Angle Shades Moth caterpillar (Phlogophora meticulosa) on leaf. Tipperary, Ireland
  • Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa) caterpillar, crawling across leaf in garden, Belvedere, Bexley, Kent, England, November
  • Angle Shades moth caterpillar (Phlogophora meticulosa) crawling on the edge of Rhodendron leaf. Tipperary, Ireland
  • Angle Shades
  • caterpillars of drinke and angle shades moths
  • Close-up of the larva of the angle shades moth (Phlogophora meticulosa) clinging to a lavender stalk in a garden.
  • Angle Shades caterpillar Phlogophora meticulosa
  • Angle Shades moth caterpillar (Phlogophora meticulosa), brown form (there is also a green form).
  • Angle Shades Moth Larva – Phlogophora meticulosa
  • Plate XLI, Angle Shades
  • Angle Shades caterpillar
  • Gelbfleck-Waldschatteneule, Purpurglanzeule, Purpurglanz-Eule, Purpur-Glanzeule, Raupe frisst an Hasel, Euplexia lucipara, small angle shades, caterpi
  • Angle Shades caterpillar, olive green-brown variety, Phlogophora meticulosa, UK
  • Closeup of a caterpillar or larva of a angle shades moth (Phlogophora meticulosa) feeding leaves in nature.
  • Angle shades moth, Phlogophora meticulosa, late instar caterpillar on the seedhead of a standard rose flower, Berkshire, June
  • Angle Shades Moth caterpillar (Phlogophora meticulosa) close up of the head,on edge of Rhododendron leaf. Tipperary, Ireland
  • Angle Shades caterpillar Phlogophora meticulosa
  • Angle Shades Larva Phlogophora meticulosa
  • Angle Shades caterpillar, olive green-brown variety, Phlogophora meticulosa, UK
  • Closeup of a caterpillar or larva of a angle shades moth (Phlogophora meticulosa) feeding leaves in nature.
  • Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa) caterpillar close-up of head crawling down stem in garden Belvedere Bexley Kent England
  • Angle Shades caterpillar Phlogophora meticulosa
  • Small Angle Shades (Euplexia lucipara) caterpillar on Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) frond in ancient woodland Gelli Hir Wood
  • Angle Shades caterpillar Phlogophora meticulosa

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