Rosy Rustic Moth - Hydraecia micacea

I was able to put the moth trap out again on Sunday evening, hampered previously by the awful weather and being away. Sunday evening was mild and dry, but there was a very light drizzle on Monday morning. So I wasn't setting much hope for a large or varied haul. But as. I started taking out the egg boxes I kept on turning up 21 Large Yellow Underwings, 4 Lesser Yeollow Underwings, a single Double Striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata, a Setaceous Hebrew Charcter (Xestia c-nigrum), and a rather non-descript, well at least to me, Rosy Rustic (Hydraecia micacea). More about the others another time, but I have to admit to being intrigued by the name of the Rosy Rustic.

As you can see it's not the most colourful of moths with a uniform brown base colour. Even the kidney marks on there wings don't stand out very much. This fairly bland marking and colouration meant it took me a while to identify it.

It has a single generation and flies from August through to October. The eggs don't hatch but over winter as an egg. The larva start appearing from April to early August. Feeds at first in the stem of the foodplant and then later on the roots. When the larva is ready it pupates underground without a cocoon (1). It's a UK resident and the distribution map from the NBN Gateway shows that it can be found throughout the British Isles (2).

Despite being a rather bland looking moth it has been identified as a potential economic pest for some crops (3,4). That said there isn't a great deal on the internet about it. But my garden is safe, no potatos and no hops, except for the ones that are already bottled.

1: Waring, P. And Townsend, M. (2011) Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland. British Wildlife Publishing.
2: NBN Gateway. Retrieved 2014-09-03.
3: French et al (1973) Biology, Damage and Control of Rosy Rustic Moth, Hydraecia micacea (Esp.), on Hop. Plant Pathology. 22(2): 58-64.

4: Rings, R.W. And Letzler, E.W. (1982) Two newly detected noctuids (Hydraecia immanis and Hydraecia micacea) of potential economic importance in Ohio. Ohio J. Of Science. 82(5): 299-302.