White plume moth Pterophorus pentadactyla Carnation tortrix moth Cacoecimorpha pronubana
Role of moths with solitary larvae in gardens
Most moth larvae are inconspicuous and cause no significant damage to garden plants. Some moths have larvae that will attract attention to themselves because they can damage the foliage of garden plants. These include cabbage moth, Mamestra brassicae, on brassicas and other plants; winter moth, Operophtera brumata, on fruit trees and other deciduous trees; angleshades moth, Phlogophora meticulosa, on many plants; lesser yellow underwing, Noctua comes, on many low-growing plants; mullein moth, Shargacucullia verbasci, on verbascum species; carnation tortrix moth, Cacoecimorpha pronubana, on many garden and glasshouse plants; tomato moth, also known as bright-line brown-eye, Lacanobia oleracea, on tomato.
Moth larvae are an extremely important food source for many garden birds which collect them in huge numbers to feed their hatchlings.
1. Shinji Sugiura, Kazuo Yamazaki 2014 Caterpillar hair as a physical barrier against invertebrate predators, Behavioral Ecology, Volume 25, Pages 975–983, https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/aru080
2. Stireman, J.O., and M.S. Singer. 2003. Determinants of parasitoid-host associations: insights from a natural tachinid-lepidopteran community. Ecology 84(2): 296-310.
James, D.G. (2017) The Book of Caterpillars. Ivy Press (Not for identification use! International in scope, but a fascinating and well illustrated compendium of caterpillar diversity)
Porter, J. (2010) Colour Identification Guide to the Caterpillars of the British Isles. Apollo Books
Sterling, P., Henwood, B., Lewington, R. (2020) Field Guide to the Caterpillars of Great Britain and Ireland
Bloomsbury Wildlife Guides
Page drafted by Andrew Halstead, reviewed by Andrew Salisbury, edited by Steve Head