Netted carpet moth (Eustroma reticulatum)

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Netted Carpet
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Netted carpet moth fact file

Netted carpet moth description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderLepidoptera
FamilyGeometridae
GenusEustroma (1)

The forewings of the Netted Carpet moth are dark brown and are criss-crossed with a network of pale lines, from which both the common and specific names are derived (reticulatum derives from the Latin reticulum, meaning 'small net'). The caterpillar reaches 2.5 cm in length, and is pale green in colour with a broken red-brown line running along the centre of the back (3).

Size
Wingspan: 24-28 mm (1)
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Netted carpet moth biology

Adults of this single-brooded species are most often seen flying around the foodplant between early June and mid-August (1). The eggs are laid singly on the undersides of the leaves of the balsam (3). The caterpillars are present in August and September (1) initially feeding on leaves, and then progressing to flowers and seedpods. Pupation over the winter takes place in moist soil (4).

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Netted carpet moth range

This moth is localised in its distribution throughout Europe. In the UK it is known only from Cumbria where there are currently 8 colony groups. The populations undergo substantial fluctuations, mirroring the fortunes of the foodplant of the caterpillars, and there has been an overall decline since 1980 (4).

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Netted carpet moth habitat

In the wild the caterpillars feed only on touch-me-not balsam (Impatiens noli-tangere), itself a Nationally Scarce species. This annual plant is found in damp, open woodland where it favours streamsides, moist shady road verges and sites of temporary disturbance (4).

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Netted carpet moth status

Classified as Vulnerable in Great Britain (2).

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Netted carpet moth threats

In many cases, the decline appears to be due to lack of disturbance factors in or near foodplant colonies, leading to their eventual loss. Changes to drainage and roadside maintenance have also had an effect in places (4).

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Netted carpet moth conservation

This species has been targeted as a priority for conservation action under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP). Since 1994, it has been the subject of a Species Recovery Programme run in partnership by English Nature, The National Trust, Butterfly Conservation, and Reading University. The Species Action Plan aims to increase the range and size of the populations of this moth (2).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
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Find out more

Further reading on moths:
Skinner, B. (1998) Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles. Viking Press, London.
Leverton, R. (2001) Enjoying Moths. Poyser, London.

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Authentication

Information authenticated by The National Trust.
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/

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Glossary

Pupation
The process of becoming a pupa, the stage of an insect's development, when huge changes occur that reorganise the larval form into the adult form. In butterflies the pupa is also called a chrysalis.
Single-brooded
(also known as 'univoltine'). Insect life cycle that takes 12 months to be complete, and involves a single generation. The egg, larva, pupa or adult over winters as a dormant stage.
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References

  1. Skinner, B. (1984) Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles. Viking Press, London.
  2. UK BAP (Dec 2002): http://www.ukbap.org.uk
  3. Carter, D.J. and Hargreaves, B. (1986) A field guide to caterpillars of butterflies and moths in Britain and Europe. Collins, London.
  4. Hooson, John. National Trust. Pers. comm.
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Image credit

Netted Carpet  
Netted Carpet

© Paul Waring

Paul Waring
Windmill View
1366 Lincoln Road
Werrington
Peterborough
PE4 6LS
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1733 571 917
paul_waring@btinternet.com

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