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Angle Shades Moth

Phlogophora meticulosa

Angle Shades Moth, Angle Shades

A close up of Phlogophora meticulosa Angle shades moth caterpillar

Achateule-phlogophora-meticulosa

by H. Krisp. CC BY 3.0

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The Angle Shades Moth is a distinctive, pretty insect that's common to gardens. The wings of Angle Shades are patterned with browns, greens and buff-pink, keeping them concealed when amongst leaf litter and plant debris. The caterpillars will feed on a range of plants, including Dock and Stinging Nettles. Unfortunately, in some years they can be pests of some cultivated plants, eating the new shoots and buds of plants. Angle Shades Moths are most active at night, being readily attracted to light and sugary scents. The moths are essential pollinators and have a vital role in the food chain. In the UK, you're most likely to see them from May to October.
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Traits

They can leave holes in plant leaves.
Moths have an important role in the food chain.

Appearance

Adults: Mature moths possess distinctive patterning on the wings, which involves a mixture of greens and brown symmetrical patterning, with the ends of the wings appearing rugged and irregular. This is a form of camouflage keeping it concealed from predators. Caterpillars: They're roughly 4.5cm in length. Their colours vary, from brown to yellow, to bright green. Pupae: Cocoons are a deep reddy-brown with a shine.

Symptoms

Holes in plant foliage, generally areas of new growth. Holes in flower buds and petals.

Activity

Nocturnal

Personality

Order

Lepidoptera

Family

Noctuidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

The UK and Europe

Biological treatment

Damage by Angle Shades moths should be tolerated wherever possible. Healthy, well-established plants (especially trees) will recover from moderate infestations. The caterpillars and moths will most often be controlled by natural enemies, including things like parasitoid wasps, beetles, birds, bats and hedgehogs! Young plants and seedlings can be protected using insect proof-mesh, row covers and plastic bottles. Diatomaceous earth sprinkled around and on plants can make an effective barrier against the caterpillars. Evening morning checks, making sure to check under the leaves and picking off caterpillars as and when should keep any infestations manageable. Keeping areas around younger plants clear of debris can make the area less attractive to caterpillars. Planting Dock and Shallow can act as a buffer plant, drawing caterpillars away from eating ornamental plants.

Chemical treatment

Although rare, if infestations have become too heavy, pesticides can be the next alternative. Organic pesticides should be attempted first (pyrethrums and horticultural oils) and applied gradually over regular intervals. More persistent insecticides include products containing lambda-cyhalothrin, deltamethrin or cypermethrin. It's been advised to always read labels for chemical treatment thoroughly, as such chemicals are non-specific and can injure/ hurt other wildlife not intended to be targeted. The latter should only be used as a last resort, and other treatments have been unsuccessful.

Attracts

Chrysanth

Chrysanthemum spp.

A close up of some pink Centranthus ruber flowers on a plant in a garden

Red Valerian

Centranthus ruber

Barberry

Berberis spp.

Dahlia

Dahlia spp.

Mustard

Brassica spp.

Dock

Rumex spp.

Nettle

Urtica spp.

Common Reed

Phragmites australis

Hop

Humulus lupulus

Hazel

Corylus avellana

Birch

Betula spp.

Oak

Quercus spp.

Apple

Malus spp.

Tobacco Plant

Nicotiana spp.

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