Species: Toadflax Brocade Moth (Calophasia lunula)

Family: Owlet Moths (EREBIDAE)

Category: Butterflies & Moths

Location: SE

A. Butterflies & Moths

B. Owlet Moths (EREBIDAE)

The Erebidae family of moths contains a wide variety of moths which range in size from miniscule to very large. They are found on all continents except Antarctica.

C. Toadflax Brocade Moth (Calophasia lunula)

The Toadflax Brocade Moth is named in recognition of the fact that its caterpillars eat Purple Toadflax and Common Toadflax, both of which can be found in the Cemetery, although 2021 is the first year that we've seen these caterpillars. The moth is a rather handsome velvety dappled grey moth that flies both at night and in the day, but its muted colours may explain why we have not yet seen one in the Cemetery.

The Moth is a recent colonist, arriving in England in the 1950s. It is found mostly in the south-east of England and some observers note that it rarely strays far from shingle coasts - pretty accurate as far as Heene Cemetery is concerned.

These colourful caterpillars are about 35mm in length.

The Toadflax Brocade Moth is classed as having a "Red List GB Pre 94 R (rare)" conservation status. It is also listed on the Sussex Rare Species Inventory.


Toadflax Brocade Moth

Caterpillars of the Toadflax Brocade Moth feed on Purple and Common Toadflax. In this photograph, the plant was a Purple Toadflax.