Early Grey: just my cup of tea!

One does not generally see a lot of moths in the day time. In summer there are day flying species but most moths like to find a quiet, dark place in the middle of a bush to spend the daylight hours away from potential predators. I was surprised, then, that this little chap (about half an inch long) spent the day asleep on a fence post in our garden. I should not have been surprised however, as a reference to my moth book said
; "Rests by day on fences, tree-trunks and rocks." and this is exactly what this one did!
The early grey (Xylocampa areola) is a resident species that over winters as a pupae and has a single brood that is on the wing from mid-March to early May. It inhabits woodlands, commons and gardens and is moderately common and widely distributed in southern England. It is partial to the blossom of sallow and there is plenty of that about in spring here in Dorset. The larvae food plant is both wild and cultivated species of honeysuckle, also common here.
The early grey has a lovely furry 'hair cut' and woolly socks, just right for those cold early spring nights.
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