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A freshly emerged Black Rustic is a beautiful sight and finding one in the light-trap is very rewarding. Although it is ‘black’ the patterns on its wings, also mostly in black, do stand out in the right light due to a difference in the texture of the scales. It appears as a very dark, ‘long’ winged moth always with a whitish mark on the kidney-mark. In contrast the hind wings of the male are white although those in the female are greyish. This is not a rare moth, with well over 149 records from all three of our vice-counties, but it rarely appears except in ones or twos. Most of these records are from the coastal belt and along the river valleys. It is widespread throughout the UK including Scotland although there appears to be a few ‘empty’ areas such as south Ayrshire! The adult moth is on the wing from mid August to the beginning of November, peaking in mid September. In D&G we do have some early records from June and July but these were of dead specimens recorded from the old Rothamsted light-traps. It is probable that these were misidentifications perhaps of the very dark form of the Common Rustic. The caterpillar is not that easy to identify as it is normally green when mature with a dark green dorsal line with two whitish lines below that. A wide range of food plants have been identifies from heather through docks to dandelion and could therefore breed almost anywhere!

MOTW – Black Rustic
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