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Pebble Prominent moth - Notodonta ziczac
Family - Notodontidae
The Pebble Prominent is a reasonably common moth in the UK seen on the wing between April and August, in one or two broods depending on the latitude, it is also found through Europe to Central Asia. It will be found in a range of differing habitats but prefers damp areas with Poplars especially European Aspen – Populus tremula, and Willows, but also in woodland, hedgerows and gardens. Reported to be common and widespread in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
With a wingspan of 40–45mm (1.6–1.8in), the forewings have a light grey area to the central leading edge bounded near the wing center by a dark curved line, and a light chocolate brown area extending from the wing roots along the trailing edge to the apex. The forewings main colouration is a light greenish yellow. There is a dark, curved postmedian line towards and around the apex of the wing. The males hindwings are grey, which is a darker grey in the females. The discal spot has a dark crescent shaped mark near the tip, giving the appearance of an eye, this may be used as a deterrent to predators. The thorax and abdomen are dark brown and densely covered with hair.
The striking caterpillars is greyish or brownish, with a brown speckled orange tail segment which held upright whilst feeding. They over winter as a pupa.
Could be confused with the very rare immigrant moth the Three–humped Prominent N. tritophus, whose larva also feeds on Sallow and Willow. This species is a European moth that is a very rare migrant to the UK. The size is slightly larger at a wingspan of 45–55mm (1.8–2.15in) and adults are on the wing again from April to August in two generations. Their colouring is however reasonably different as they are an overall dark brown with several transverse cross lines in black, whereas the Pebble Prominent's main colouration is a light greenish yellow.
Agassiz #71.013, Bradley & Fletcher #2003
Photo ©2009 Harald Süpfle
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