Vestal Rhodometra sacraria
Back To (Linnaeus, 1767)
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Geometridae » Sterrhinae
The Vestal is a migrant species, mainly occurring in southern England in varying numbers. In good immigration years, several hundred may appear, and some may turn up almost anywhere in Britain.
Creamy winged species with pink bars forming an inverted 'V' and also pink edges to the wings
Home-bred individuals duller than immigrants, and it is these that most closely resemble Straw Belle Aspitates gilvaria,Vestal is smaller and rests with tent-like resting posture, while Straw Belle is usually speckled. Larval Temperature influences the Colouraation of adult . Higher temps yielding brighter more colourful adults The late-generation generations are smaller and the wingspan has an average of 16–26 mm.
These moths are easily distinguishable from the mahogany or pink stripe, located on yellowish or cream background, crossing diagonally the dorsal sides of the upperwings from the posterior margin up to the apex. Discal spots are usually present and have the same color as the postmedial line.
The dorsal sides of the hind wings are whitish and unmarked. The fringes on the wings are mostly in the basic color. The abdomen is pure white. Head and thorax are straw yellow. In males the antennae are bipectinated to three-fourths length.
The hind tibiae bear two pairs of spurs
The intensity and the extent of the pink pigmentation is rather variable, depending on the seasonal temperature in the development of the pupae
The species breeds in southern Europe and North Africa, and the caterpillars live on knotgrass (Polygonum), dock (Rumex) and other low plantsMay be recorded from April to November, with most records occurring in August and September