Species of the Month - November 2017

December Moth

Poecilocampa populi

Poecilocampa populi

Despite its name the December Moth is most often seen in November in our area.  Our earliest record is 20 Oct and our latest is 16 Dec.  All our sightings are to house lights or moth traps.  It will often come to a lit window at this time of year, and may even come inside if the window is open.

Poecilocampa populi male

The December Moth is not likely to be confused with any other species.  It belongs to the Lasiocampidae, a family with just 12 British moth species including the well-known Drinker, Fox Moth and Northern Eggar.

Poecilocampa populi male

The male December Moth has comb-like antennae to enable it to detect the female's pheromones from a great distance.

Poecilocampa populi female

The female is larger than the male, and has a broader abdomen, and antennae with only a short spine on each segment.

Poecilocampa populi female   Poecilocampa populi eggs

The female on the left laid these eggs in Noelle Odling's moth trap on Lismore.  The eggs are distinctive with a bullseye mark on their ends.  Noelle placed them on a tree trunk afterwards, where hopefully they survived the winter to hatch in spring.  The December Moth larva feeds on a variety of broadleaved trees, including oak, birch, willow and many other common species.

Please send in your December Moth sightings using the form below, or email sightings@lnhg.org.uk with the details if you prefer.  If you are not sure of the identity of your moth, please send a photo to sightings@lnhg.org.uk, or put one on the LNHG Facebook page.

Date of sighting 
Grid reference 
Name of finder 
Your name (if different) 
Email (not needed if I already know it!) 
Any other details, e.g came to window or
found outdoors


By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy.  Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.

Carl Farmer
LNHG Biological Records Manager

Note you can still send in records for past species of the month.  Here are the previous November species:

Nov 2016 - Hartstongue Fern
Nov 2014 - Golden Spindles
Nov 2013 - Whooper Swan
Nov 2012 - Feathered Thorn
Nov 2011 - Hazel Gloves

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Complete list of Species of the Month

This project is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage

All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated.  The last 4 photos are Noelle Odling.  Mouse over photos to see credits.