The Moths of Suffolk
1661 Orange Underwing, Archiearis parthenias, (Linnaeus, 1761)

National Status : Local

Local Status : Resident (SMP Status 3)

Distribution and abundance : Predominantly found in the heathland areas where birch is prevalent, but also in woods containing birch

Habitats : Woodland and heathland with birch scrub

Flight Period : Single-brooded; March to April

Larval foodplants : Downy Birch (Betula pubescens) and Silver Birch (Betula pendula)

Comments : A day-flying species best seen on the Sandling heaths on warm spring days. Emerges earlier than the rarer Light Orange Underwing

Morley's Final Catalogue : The patchy distribution is surely owing merely to lack of March observers; probably common in all birch-woods. The collective 'Brepha' - as the genus is actually spelled by Stephens (Catalog. Brit. Insects 1829, p. 113) - was a Moth well-known to the Victorian working men-collectors of Ipswich. Several about Ipswich on 27 March 1861 (Tim Last, Ent. Wk. Intell. X, 27); somewhat common outside Bentley Woods in 1899 (Platten), 1936 (Bp.) and 1894-5, and on Foxhall heath (Mly). West Stow Wood (Suff. Inst. iv, 1870, 221); Mildenhall. Worlingham (Crf); many at Blythburgh Wood on 22 March 1936 (Btn); Herringfleet on 22 March 1936 (D, Mr).

Wingspan details : Forewing 16-19mm, Wingspan 35-39mm

Identification

Confusion species
    AdultLight Orange Underwing, Archiearis notha

Compare confusion species
    Adult

Click to view full size image
Ipswich, Suffolk (iii.2004) © N Sherman

Flight chart
JFMAMJJASOND
100 14

Life history chart
JFMAMJJASOND
pupa pupa pupaimago ovaimago larva larva pupa pupa pupa pupa pupa pupa

Further Photographs

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Underside - Ipswich, Suffolk (iii.2003) © N Sherman
Cavenham Heath, Suffolk (23.iii.2005) © Lee Gregory
Female taking in moisture from dew on grass - Ipswich, Suffolk (22.iii.2011) © Neil Sherman