Home / Prominent Moths (Notodontidae) / Buff Tip Moth (Phalera bucephala)

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


Scientific Classification

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

Description and Identification


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


Buff Tip Moth Caterpillar



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

Buff Tip Moth Pupa


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



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

Buff Tip Moth Eggs


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


Buff Tip Moth Image


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