Lepidoptera The Brindled Beauty Moth – Biston Hirtaria

Early in April, and sometimes in March, this moth may be seen in abundance, resting on the lime trees in and around our towns. In fact, so strongly marked is its partiality to the haunts of man in the neighbourhood of our great metropolis that it has received the name of the Cockney. The male is represented in fig. 5 of Moth PicturesPlate XII, and the female may be distinguished from it by her simple antenna and larger body.

The caterpillar is coloured with alternate bands of dark purple brown and reddish brown. There is a yellow band on the front of the second segment, a row of yellow spots on each side, and two little bright yellow warts on the back of each segment. It feeds by night on lime (Tilia vulgaris), elm (Ulmus campestris), and various fruit trees, and often appears in such numbers that the foliage is almost completely devoured. During the daytime it may be seen resting on the bark, almost invariably fixed longitudinally on the trunk, where it looks like a natural ridge of the bark which it so closely resembles in colour. It may be found in June and July, and in August it changes to a chrysalis at the foot of its tree, just below the surface of the soil.