Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Common

Local Status: Uncommon and thinly distributed or restricted resident.

Local Record: Grade 3 adult; 2 larval   See here for explanation

Flight time: Jul-Sep.

Forewing: 22-25mm.

Foodplant: Pedunculate Oak.

IMPORTANT - Please note that the maps and accounts are provisional, subject to change and further update.  The whole dataset still needs to go through the final verification process and it is likely that a very small number of records will not satisfy the present requirements and there are other records that have not been formally submitted.  The information is for guidance only.

Record breakdown:

Year first recorded197619871976
Year last recorded201120102011
Number of records474531054
Number of individuals638581392
Unique positions947202
Unique locations847182
Adult records42552954
Immature records102

For the region, we have a total of 1054 records from 182 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1976.


2298 Svensonn's Copper Underwing 02 hindwing diagnostic
© Les Hill
2298 Svensson's Copper Underwing 01
© Tom Morris

Species Account

Similar species: 2297 Amphipyra pyramidea (Copper Underwing).

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A species restricted to southern England and south Wales, local elsewhere, the larva feeding on various deciduous shrub and tree species. In Dorset, the moth is at low density, rising to frequent locally in deciduous woodland. Of more than two hundred ‘Copper Underwings’ trapped at Puddletown between 1999 and 2002, sixty per cent referred to the Copper Underwing2297 and forty per cent were of this moth. Both species are readily attracted to sugar bait. This species is very similar to the Copper Underwing.

Diagnostics include: orbicular stigmata oval, not circular and usually greater than 1mm in width; hindwing underside has copper flush extending right across lower half of wing and copper colour does not truncate at postmedian line; the black tips of the two lowest adjacent chevrons on antemedian line form an acute angle to basal edge of forewing, not a right angle; general forewing colours lack contrast.

Hill, L., 2013: Discussions with County Moth Recorders suggest the external characteristics are subjective and unreliable. The underside hindwing shading was amongst features published which added A. berbera svenssoni to the British fauna (Fletcher, 1968) and is considered the most reliable feature and should always be referred to; however, it is evident that interpretation of this and other external characteristics causes confusion amongst the less experienced and experts alike. Even the underside of the hindwing is not totally reliable (Townsend et al, 2010).

Recorders are requested to state in their records if the underside hindwing shading was checked for verification. If not, please aggregate.

The easiest and most satisfactory way to record and confirm Copper Underwing and Svensson's Copper Underwing beyond doubt is to beat for late instar larvae during May. Recorded on various trees and shrubs, both feed on oak (Quercus spp., honeysuckle Lonicera spp., sallow Salix spp. and lime Tilia spp. Copper Underwing may also be beaten from ash Fraxinus excelcior and wild and garden privet Ligustrum vulgare and L. ovalifolium, with Svensson's Copper Underwing also beaten from birch Betula spp., lilac Syringa vulgaris, rhododendron Rhododendron ponticum and hornbeam Carpinus betulus.

The larva of Copper Underwing has a prominent yellowish-tipped hump dorsally on the eleventh segment and the spiracular line is whitish, finely-edged with green above and being mostly absent on the third and forth rings; thoracic legs mostly green. Svensson's Copper Underwing has a reddish-tipped hump dorsally on the eleventh segment. The spiracular line is also whitish but boldly edged above with dark green and present on all segments; thoracic legs mostly black. Both are very easy to rear in captivity.

Fletcher, D.S. 1968. Amphipyra pyramidea (Linnaeus) and A. berbera Rungs (Lep. Noctuidae), two
    species confused. Entomologist's Gazette 19:91-106.
Townsend, M.C., Clifton, J. & Goodey, B. 2010. British and Irish moths: an illustrated guide to selected
    difficult species
. Butterfly Conservation, Wareham, Dorset.

Last updated: 22 August 2013


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