Early Thorn

Drawn from my own photograph, which can be easier than peering into a bug box.
Drawn from my own photograph, which can be easier than peering into a bug box.

AT FIRST GLANCE you might think ‘butterfly’ as the Early Thorn,¬†Selenia dentaria, is the only Thorn moth to hold its wings up in butterfly fashion.

You might be thinking that late July doesn’t qualify as ‘Early’ but this is a female of the second generation, which ¬†usually has a larger tawny orange patch on its underwing than the February to May generation.

As the name suggests, she might well be looking for a blackthorn or hawthorn to lay her eggs on, there are plenty in the immediate vicinity, but the larvae will also feed on birch, alder, honeysuckle, sallow or bog-myrtle. They’re common in a wide variety of habitats including gardens, hedges and woods so they should feel at home here.