Autumnal moth

The autumnal moth (Epirrita autumnata) is a moth of the family Geometridae. The species was first described by Moritz Balthasar Borkhausen in 1794. It is found throughout the Palearctic region and the Near East and has a much wider distribution than its two close relatives (see below). In Sápmi (Lapland), in some years, the numerous autumnal moth larvae defoliate square miles of birch forests on mountains.[1]

Autumnal moth
Epirrita autumnata.jpg
Epirrita autumnata, Autumnal Moth, Trawscoed, North Wales, Oct 2006 (20921883668).jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Geometridae
Genus: Epirrita
E. autumnata
Binomial name
Epirrita autumnata
(Borkhausen, 1794)


This species is very similar to the November moth, the small Autumnal moth, and the pale November moth, and identification is usually only possible by examining the genitalia.[2] In general, this is the least variable of the four, with melanic forms occurring less often. It is also usually on the wing earlier in the year, flying in September and October,[1] although the flight seasons of all three species overlap.

The caterpillar feeds on a wide variety of trees and shrubs.[3][4] The species overwinters as an egg.


  • E. a. altivagata
  • E. a. autumnata


  • ^ The flight season refers to the British Isles. This may vary in other parts of the range.


  1. ^ Haukioja, Erkki; Hanhimäki, Sinikka (1985). "Rapid wound-induced resistance in white birch (Betula pubescens) foliage to the geometrid Epirrita autumnata: a comparison of trees and moths within and outside the outbreak range of the moth". Oecologia. 65 (2): 223–232. doi:10.1007/BF00379221.
  2. ^ Martin C. Townsend, Jon Clifton and Brian Goodey (2010). British and Irish Moths: An Illustrated Guide to Selected Difficult Species. Butterfly Conservation.
  3. ^ Sadik Tuzun and Elizabeth Bent, 2006
  4. ^ Hogan, C. Michael (2008). "Douglas-fir: Pseudotsuga menziesii"., ed. Nicklas Strõmberg Archived 2009-06-04 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit