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Buff Tip Moth (Phalera bucephala)

The buff tip moth is a member of the prominent moths family. Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus first described it in the10th edition of Systema Naturae published in 1758.

Buff Tip Moth

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Scientific Classification


  • Family: Notodontidae
  • Genus: Phalera
  • Scientific Name: Phalera bucephala

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

The larvae are yellow and black, initially more social but becoming solitary as they become older. Initially the larvae appear pale, turning to a striking black coloration marked with yellow, and white lines.

The immature ones are social, while they become more matured in their adult stage.

Buff Tip Moth Larvae

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Buff Tip Moth Caterpillar

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Pupa

Once mature, the larva leaves their host plants and overwinter as a pupa.

Buff Tip Moth Pupa

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Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance

Forewings: When the wings are opened, they are gray with a buff patch at the edge. This makes them look like a broken twig. When the wings are closed, the color and pattern is the same, and their similarity with a twig gets even more prominent.

Hindwings: When the wings are opened, they are creamy-white. When the wings are closed, they are completely hidden.

Average wingspan: 55–68 mm

Flight pattern: Erratic

Season: June – July

Phalera bucephala

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Egg

The eggs are completely white with a hollow notch in them.

Buff Tip Moth Eggs

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Quick Facts

DistributionEurope, Asia up to eastern Siberia
HabitatGardens, hedgerows, scrub, and open woodlands
Lifespan of AdultsNot recorded
Host PlantsMainly birch, hazel, oak, and sallow; also seen near alder, beech, elm, hornbeam, lime, rowan, and sycamore plants
Adult DietNot recorded

Did You Know

  • These moths have two sub-species – P. b. bucephala and P. b. tenebrata.
Buff Tip Moth Picture

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Buff Tip Moth Image

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