Two moths of the geometridae family

Prospekt Fauna, Interesting facts, News


Photo 1. Mediterranean pink-barred moth (Rhodostrophia calabra), fam.
Geometridae (Photo by Anđelko Šikić).

TWO MOTHS OF THE GEOMETRIDAE FAMILY

On the first Monday in June, Public Institution “Priroda”
held a presentation concerning carnivores in the County of Primorje and
Gorski Kotar for the members of the Mycological Association “Ožujka.
The presentation was also open to the public. Following the presentation,
a discussion developed about the various aspects of nature and environmental
protection and conservation, about venomous animals and plants, about
fungi… The discussion prompted our praiseworthy associate Anđelko Šikić,
a member of the association, (see also www.ju-priroda.hr/en-novosti.asp?id=novosti-en/92-gljive.html)
to send us an interesting photo of a nocturnal moth, which he had correctly
identified as the Mediterranean pink-barred moth (Rhodostrophia calabra).
The Mediterranean pink-barred moth is a colourful moth (pinkish-ochre
stripes) of the Geometridae or geometer moth family. It has a preference
for warm Mediterranean grassy and shrubby habitats, and its caterpillars
feed on plants of the Genista family as well as on some other representatives
of the legume family (Fabaceae). The photo was taken at Scott Cove near
Kraljevica. The moth is important because it is one of Europe’s natural
rarities. Especially threatened are its relict populations beyond the
Mediterranean, further inland.

We came across the second moth, called the brimstone
moth (Opisthograptis luteolata), in a rocky, light pre-alpine beech forest
in the Ceclje region in the hinterland of Mt Obruč. Because of its lovely
sulphur-yellow colour with small dark brown patches along the edges of
its forewings, you cannot mistake this moth for another species. According
to the literature, its favourite habitats are wet lowland forests. However,
the brimstone moth has also been sighted in Gorski Kotar, in the “valley
of butterflies”, that is, the upper part of Kupa River valley. It
seems that the moth is not adverse to highland forests, considering that
our photo was taken in an area more than 1200 meters above sea level.
The blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) and the hawthorn (Crataegus sp.), which
are the favourite food plants of the moth’s caterpillars, do not grow
at these heights in this region, so we assume that the caterpillars feed
on the leaves of rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) or other tree species. Geometer
moths are an extensive group of nocturnal moths. Its caterpillars move
in a characteristic way with a looping gait that gives the impression
they are measuring the ground, hence their name.

Key words: geometer moths (Geometridae), Mediterranean
pink-barred moth (Rhodostrophia calabra), brimstone moth (Opisthograptis
luteolata)

Marko Randić (PI “Priroda”) and Anđelko Šikić
(Mycological Association “Ožujka”)


Photo 2. Brimstone moth (Opisthograptis luteolata), fam. Geometridae (Photo
by Sunčica Strišković).


Photo 3. Presentation held by Sunčica Strišković at the Mycological Association
“Ožujka” on 2 June 2014 (Photo by Marko Randić)