Petej's picture

Blossom Underwing

Observed: 21st March 2012 By: PetejPetej’s reputation in InvertebratesPetej’s reputation in InvertebratesPetej’s reputation in InvertebratesPetej’s reputation in Invertebrates
Blossom Undewing 1
Blossom Underwing 2

This moth was seen in an area of predominently oak woodland, it flew infront of us and very conveniently landed and walked over the leaf litter for a while.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda) interacts


Petej's picture

Blossom Underwing / Small Quaker

Thanks Douglas

I felt very confident this one was a Blossom Underwing but I can see what you mean I think about the subterminal line.

I have a small library of Small Quaker photos which did not look like the pics above especially with respect to the cross band but it is early days in my library building.

What is it about the colour of the cross band?

To me that looks like the pictures in Waring and Townsend for the Blossom Underwing but as I keep finding out there are lots of pitfalls in placing too much reliance on the book pictures alone.


Douglas's picture

Hi Pete, Yes, O. cruda so

Hi Pete,

Yes, O. cruda so very variable. I had over 200 of these in my trap the other night; immense variation.

I have huge respect for Lewington and I think he's done an amazing job, although there are one or two species in book I don't think have been very well portrayed, cruda being one, of course this is always inevitable.

A quick look at Lepiforum shows some of the variation:

A image of a moth similar to yours is here:
(scroll down to near the bottom)

I've certainly had some of my own in the trap which are almost identical to this.

Just to give you some more ideas:
* The cross-band would usually have a lot more contrast in O. miniosa and would appear much more orangey.
* The oval stigma are usually bigger on miniosa I find.
* Markings in the sub-terminal area along the costa are typical of cruda in your moth.
* I would also say that typically the angle that the cross-line at the bottom of the cross-band joins the costa is at a much steeper angle on miniosa.

I hope that's made sense and made my reasons a little clearer. I'm almost certain this is O. cruda, Small Quaker, but of course the best way to be sure would have been dissection.

Best wishes,


Petej's picture

O. cruda

Hi Douglas

That is wonderful detailed feedback - much appreciated. I will have to find a way of including this type of feedback in my photo library.

I have only this year started to use a moth trap and have not yet left it out all night - experimenting with it really at present. My first proper catch included Small and Common Quakers, a Hebrew Character and a couple of Clouded Drabs.

The catch of 200 Small Quakers you mention above must have taken quite some time to process and release I would imagine?

Thanks once again your help with the identification above and also for the web sites.


Douglas's picture

Hi Pete,Glad I could help. I

Hi Pete,

Glad I could help. I know from past experience that there is nothing more annoying than someone ID'ing a moth for you but not really helping you understand why it's that species, which never helps when you come to catch a similar one again.

Good luck with futher trapping anyway, it should start picking up very soon.

It's already going well here, had 500 moths of 23 species the other night. And yes, it does take quite some time to count them all. I'm at that stage where I can ID more or less anything in the trap instantly (at this time of year anyway!), always speeds things up hugely. Just waiting to the 'spring species boom'!

Best wishes,