In Dutch we have "vlinders" (butterflies), "nachtvlinders"
(nightbutterflies) and motten (small moths). I like the name
Butterflies and moths belong to the same order Lepidoptera. They are both called
The butterflies always fly during the day and they are often beautiful
coloured. In moths, there are also many species
which fly during the day (day active moth) and
sometimes also are beautiful coloured.
A characteristic of moths are the long feelers,
antennae. They are oftencomb-like or feathery, or filamentous. Most
moths have no bright colours (brown, grey, white or black) and often with
patterns of which help camouflage them during the day. Moths
tend to have stout and hairy bodies to conserve heat during the cooler nights.
There’s a coupling of the forewing with the hindwing. Unlike
moths, butterflies generally hold their wings together above their backs when
The butterflies (family skippers or skipper butterflies (Hesperiidae), family
Blues (Lycaenidae), family Nymphalidae, family Pieridae) are now on a subpage.
I have made subpages of some families. On this page I have placed a photo of
one species of the family and a link.
octogenaria, synonym Hoplodrina alsines)
Family Noctuidae or Owlet moths.
resembles the Rustic. But the spots on the wings are smaller. The caterpillar
feeds at night on many different herbaceous plants. By day he hides, like the caterpillar in the picture. It hibernates as a caterpillar. He pupate in the soil.
Wingspan: 28 to 34 mm. May- August. One generation.
Endothenia ustulana. Family
Tortricidae or tortrix moths (leafrollers).
Other resembling the species are E. gentianaeana March, E. marginana
and E. oblongana
Host plants: Bugleweed, ground pine or carpet bugle (Ajuga), self-heal,
woundwort or lamb's ears (Stachys) and Jewelweeds(Impatiens). The larva lives in the roots.
It actually flew near bugleweed. In the Netherlands, very rare!!
(Xanthorhoe fluctuata). Family
A common moth. Because of the white paint
on the wall, it was very difficult to see on a distance. It usually feeds on
crucifers: both cultivated brassicas and wild species such as flixweed,
garlic mustard. It flies in two
generations from Aprilto
September and hibernates as a pupa. German:
Garten-Blattspanner French: Phalène ondée.
Mother of Pearl (Pleuroptya ruralis). Family grass moths (Crambidae).
Sometimes you can read as family: Snout moths, Pyralid Moths (Pyralidae).
grass moths (Crambidae) is also treated as a full family. In the light they sometimes have a pearly glow. It is a day active moth.
The caterpillars feed on nettles. They roll up a nettle leaf and fix it with silk. Here they hibernate. They are sometimes on other plants.
Wingspan: 26 - 40 mm. That's large for a grass moth. May - September Two
German: Nesselzünsler. French: Pyrale du Houblon.
Harpella forficella. Family Concealer moths (Oecophoridae).
Like other members of the family Oecophoridae the palps are very large..
The caterpillar feeds on decayed wood, but can also be found in tree fungus of deciduous trees.
It is often found on sandy soils. It hibernates as a caterpillar.
June - September. Wingspan 19 - 29 mm. Europe.
degeerella). Family Adelidae.
It is a female. The
male's antennae are much longer. They are around 30 mms long.
It also is a day-active moth.
You can find the butterfly on bistort,
nettle and daisy.
The caterpillar feeds on
leaf remains of birches.Flying time
April to June. Photo 5-6-2012
German: Langhornmotte French: Coquille
Cauchas rufimitrella. Family
This moth has a beautiful metallic glow.
It is a day-active moth.
Wingspan 10 - 12 mm.
Caterpillars live on the seeds of Cardamine pratensis. An other foodplant
is garlic mustard. (last photo)
Flying time May to June.
Last photo 19-5-2010.
Green longhorn (Adela reaumurella). Family
day-active metallic green moth. The caterpillars live on leaf remains.
Wingspan 14 - 18 mm. Male.
Flying time May to June.
The males are often dancing near the bushes.
Male. Photos 5 -5 2010.
Female green longhorn with shorter antennae: Photo 14-5-2011.
Nematopogon adansoniella. Family
It is a day-active moth. It looks like the Nemapogon swammerdamella. But Nemapogon adansoniella has
grey brown / white ringed
antennae. See detail photo. Forewings are ochreous with a grid
Wingspan 17 - 19 mm.
Hosts: Common Beech, oak, Prunus spinosa (blackthorn or sloe) and Bilberry
April - June. One generation. Europe.
hexadactyla). Family Many-plumed moths
The wing is divided into 6 plumes.
A common moth. I don't see it in the garden, but sometimes (like this moth) I find it in our house. In the Netherlands there is only one other member of the family, namely the rare Alucita
Wingspan: about 14 - 16 mm.
Host: Honeysuckle. The caterpillars feed on the buds and leaves. Sometimes they mine the leaves.
Throughout the year. The moth overwinters.
Europe, introduced in America.
Diurnea fagella. Family
The females have short wings and can't fly. Males can be both light and dark.
Host plants are deciduous trees like beech, oak and birch. The eggs are deposited on the
It hibernates as a pupa.
March - May. One generation.
Wingspan 19 - 29 mm.
Anthophila fabriciana. Family Metalmark moths
A very small butterfly.
Wingspan: 10 to15 millimeters.
It flies in May to October. Two generations. It is most seen in June and
the Palearctic ecozone.
The caterpillar feed on nettles.
Apple Leaf Skeletonizer
(Choreutis pariana). Family Metalmark moths (Choreutidae).
The wings are reddish brown to gray with a dark zigzag line with a light band. The head is
Host plant for the caterpillar: Mainly apple (Malus) It eats the chlorophyll
from the upper surface of the leaf, thus you get the skeleton of the leaf.
It is not a very common moth in the Netherlands and it flies mainly in gardens with apple trees.
Wingspan 11 to 15 mm.
Especially in July and September. Two generations.
Native to Europe, Asia. Introduced in North America.
binaria formely Drepana binaria). Family
Brown forewings with two dark discal spots and two pale transverse lines. As with
many hook-tips it has a distinctively hook-shaped apex to the forewing.
The Barred Hook-tip (Watsonalla cultraria) looks like this moth, but is browner and has
one discal spot.
Wingspan: 18 - 35 mm.
Host plants: Especially oak.
April - September. Two generations. The pupa overwinters in a folded oak leaf.
Europe, North Africa.
From Wikipedia: The first to fifth-instar larvae of the Gracillariidae are usually very flattened and have
possess specialised mouthparts adapted for feeding on sap. The major part of the caterpillars live as a leaf miner in leaves.
Older-instar larvae are cylindrical and have normal chewing mouthparts for feeding on plant tissue within the leaf mines, and have a fully functional silk-producing organ, the "spinneret".
Leafminer, Privet Leafminer(Gracillaria
syringella). Subfamily Gracillariinae. Family Gracillariidae.
Forewings are brown with light stripes and spots. Variable. (compare it to the last two pictures below)
Hindwings brownish gray.
May - August. Two generations. The pupae overwinter.
Wingspan: 10 - 13 mm. Host plants for the caterpillars are different species of lilac (Syringa), privet
(Ligustrum) and Ash (Fraxinus). Eggs are laid on the underside of leaves along the veins.
(Cameraria ohridella). Subfamily Gracillariinae. Family Gracillariidae.
Formerly all the leaves of our horse chestnuts were beautiful green in summer. Now they begin to brown in June already. That's because of the larvae of the chestnut leaf miner. The larvae eat through the veins of the leaves and making large parts brown. (see photo below). The chestnut leaf miner isn't native in the Netherlands. In 1985 it was found for the first time in Europe. (1999, Netherlands) It is probably from Asia. Amazing that all trees are brown by the larva of such a small insect. The moth is 5 mm long. It has a few natural enemies like the great tits and some parasitic
The forewings are shiny light brown with white bands. The hindwings are dark gray.
May - September. Several generations. Wingspan: 8 mm.
Photos 18-5-2013 and 26-6-2012.
Features: Brown wings with white spots. The males have combed
The young larva is a leaf miner (May, June). After the first moult, they
make an excision out of the mine and live on the soil feeding on dry leaves.
Photo 10-7-2012. The hostplants are hawthorn (especially in Great-Britain) oak, birch,
rose, common bilberry.The caterpillar hibernates.
April - June
Wingspan 12 - 16 mm.
pectinea. Family Incurvariidae.
It looks like the Incurvaria
pectinea. The spots of the Incurvaria pectinea are not as sharply defined. The
wings are brown but paler.
The young larva is a leaf miner like the lava of the Incurvaria masculella
Host plants: Deciduous trees like birch, apple, hazel, hornbeam.
April - May.
Wingspan 12 - 16 mm.
Europe. Photo 8-5-2013.
The forewings are broad and short.
The forewings are light brown (female paler) with two dark lines running from each other, which sometimes form the border of a dark area. (not the
festoon on the picture).
Wingspan: 20 - 30 mm.
Host plants for the caterpillars are deciduous trees, especially oak and beech. The caterpillar has no visibility
legs and moves like a snail.
May - August. One generation. The caterpillars overwinter in a cocoon
under the fallen leaves.
Photos 2-8-2013. German: Großer
French: La Tortue.
Tussock moths (Lymantriidae).
This is a male. The larger females are white or yellowish white with dark zigzag lines and
don't fly much (or don't fly). The male is distinguished by the strong feathery antennae. Its forewings are dark brown with some wavy
Wingspan: 32-55 mm.
Host Plants: Many different kinds of deciduous trees and shrubs.
June - August. One generation. The eggs overwinter. They are deposited in bark crevices. The caterpillars spread in the spring by silk threads in the wind. They can grow to 7 cm long.
Palearctic, as exotic species throughout the Nearctic region.
Caterpillar of a gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar). Photo 20-5-2009.
German: Schwammspinner. French: Bombyx
dromedarius). Prominent Moths
k gray-brown with a few pale brown elongated spots.
Host plants for the caterpillars are birch, alder, oak and hazel,
May - August One generation. The dromedary overwinters as a pupa.
Europe, Asia Minor.
German: Dromedar-Zahnspinner, Erlen-Zahnspinner. French:
A light gray moth with in the longitudinal direction a brown line. The antennas
have near the tip three dark rings.
Wingspan: 14 to 17 mm.
The moth flies easily away when you walk through the garden.
Host plants for the caterpillar: Dame's violet (Hesperis matronalis).
April to November. Two generations. The caterpillars distort or connect the leaves
with silk. The eggs overwinter. The caterpillars pupate in a cocoon at the underside of a leaf.
Europe, Asia Minor, North America.
The forewings are divided into a
pale part and a dark part with an waving dividing line.
Wingspan: 13-15 mm.
Host plants for the caterpillar: Plants from the cabbage family and Tropaeolaceae. The caterpillars
in the first days leafminers. When the are older, they live on the underside of a
April - October Several generations.
The adult moth overwinters, but survives no cold winters. The moth can fly
with the help of the wind long distances from southern Europe to the Netherlands.
Originally in the Mediterranean. Now Worldwide.
Photo 11-7-2014. German: Kohlschabe, Kohlmotte.
French: Teigne des crucifères ou Teigne des choux.
moths, bagworms, bagmoths
larvae of the Psychidae constructs cases using silk threads and materials from
the environment. You often recognize the species when you see the cases. The
females often lack the wings. They are sometimes called case moths, but this
name is also used for case-bearers (Colephoridae).
moths, bagworms, bagmoths (Psychidae).
have hairy brown shiny wings. The females are wingless and about 4-5 mm
long. She stays in the cocoon.
Wingspan: 12-15 mm.
Host plants for the caterpillar are plants like grasses, birch, willow,
poplar. The caterpillar is protected by a case of pieces of grass.
May - July Two generations. The caterpillars overwinter.
bag, case 15-5-2014. German: Kleine Rauch-Sackträge.
I found this moth in the pantry. It flies mostly during dusk. Previously,
it was found only in the south of the Netherlands. Now it is a common moth. The moth
The caterpillar ives is low plants. Including on currency, on different types of geraniums and heather.
The Amblyptilia acanthadactyla can be seen all year. (Between April and August overlapping generations)
Wingspan: 17 - 23 mm.
T-Moth or Morning-glory Plume Moth(Emmelina
A very common moth. The plume moth is similar to other plume moths of the genus
colour is variable. From rusty brown to gray-white.
They fly at dusk and at night.
They fly almost the whole year. Especially in August, September. The moth
Wingspan: 18 to 27 mm.
Host plants for the caterpillars are particularly plants from the bindweed family, but they are also found on other plants.
Europe, Asia, North Africa, North America, Mexico.
Photo 23-7-2012. French: Le Ptérophore commun
Currant Clearwing (Synanthedon
tipuliformis) Family clearwing moths (Sesiidae) It
is a day-active moth.
broad-bordered bee hawk-moth it has transparent wings. It has a yellow collar.
The young butterflies have two yellow lines on the thorax. The black
abdomen of the males has three yellow bands. The females have two yellow bands.
Wingspan 17 - 20 mm.
Host plants of the genus Ribes and Spindle Tree. Caterpillars eat the bark and the wood. They hibernate in the branch.
Flight time: May to July. One generation.
Palearctic. Now also in North America, Asia and Australia.
Photo 1-6-2011. German: Johannisbeerglasflügler
Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila
elpenor) caterpillar. Family Sphingidae.
Unfortunately I have no picture of these beautiful moths.
When the 8cm long brown caterpillar feels threatened it draws this snout in, towards its
body and moves it slightly like on the photo. This posture resembles more a snake
than an Elephant. It has also
four large 'eye' markings at the head end.
It lives mainly on the fireweed. In the garden also on the fuchsia.
Although there are fireweed and fuchsia's in the garden, it is here on
It hibernates as a pupa.
The butterfly you'll find from May to June. 1 sometimes 2 generations. Wingspan 45-60
The caterpillar of the Elephant Hawk-moth in rest
German: Mittlere Weinschwärmer. French:
Grand sphinx de la vigne.
fuciformis). Family Sphingidae. A day active moth. An easily recognizable
moth with a yellow-brown fur with a reddish brown band and white spots on the side. The wings are partly transparent with a red border.
Like a hummingbird it flies from flower to flower and is drinking with its
tongue the nectar.
Include labiates and butterfly bushes. As you can see on the pictures, it moves its wings rapidly.
Wingspan: 38-45 mm.
Flight time: May - July. In the Netherlands it is found in the coastal and sandy areas.
Europe (except northern Scandinavia), North Africa and Central and East Asia.
Caterpillars feed on snowberry and honeysuckle and other plants. June-August.
They overwinter as pupa among the withered leaves.
German: Hummelschwärme. French: sphinx
fuciforme, Sphinx-Gazé ou Sphinx du.
stellatarum). Family Sphingidae.
A day active moth.
The forewings are
grey-brown. The upper side of the hind wings is orange. The orange hind wings
are visible, when it flies.
Like a hummingbird it flies from flower to flower and is drinking with its
tongue the nectar. As you can see on the pictures, it moves its wings rapidly.
Wingspan: 36-50 mm.
Flying time: April - October. Sometimes earlier like this hummingbird moth. It is both a migratory
moth as a sedentary moth. They can fly in the summer to the north and fly
in the winter to the south. Europe, North Africa and Asia.
The light green caterpillars are to be found in madder but also in other
plants. Near those plants they pupate on the floor, between the leaves. Photos
Fungus moths, tineid moths(Tineidae). Many species can be harmful because the caterpillars
feed on dead organic material.
Yellow V moth (Oinophila v-flava).
Subfamily Hieroxestinae. Family fungus moths, tineid moths (Tineidae).
Non-native species. Rare in the Netherlands!
The forewings are brown, blackish brown with pale spots, which form a V-shaped pattern. Head with brown hair. Long antennae.
The moth is associated with wine cellars, because the caterpillars live on the fungus Zasmidium cellare and on wine corks. In nature, the caterpillar
often lives in palm-like plants with stems. Sometimes they are found in the Netherlands. Mostly in urban areas
Wingspan: About 10 mm.
In North- and South America, Africa to South Africa and Mediterranean Europe, elsewhere it is
a non-native species.
European Grain Moth(Nemapogon
granella). Subfamily Nemapogoninae. Family
fungus moths, tineid moths (Tineidae).
Theforewings areirregularlymottleddarkbrown,whiteand grey.Thegrey-brownhindwingsare surroundedby
a fringeoflong hair.On the heada tuft ofyellowish-white
hairs.It looks like the Nemapogoncloacella.Thewhite spotin the center3/4ofthe
wingis characteristic:presentat N. cloacellaandabsent at N. granella. Almost the whole year. Wingspan:10 -15mm. Host plantsforthe
caterpillar are mushrooms,decayingordead wood,driedproducts such asmushroomsandberries,groan, flouretc. Worldwide.
fungus moths, tineid moths (Tineidae).
For the first time !!! found in the Netherlands, thanks Tymo
Muus, who recognized it when he saw a picture of me.
The larva makes mines in ferns, especially in hartstongue fern, but also maidenhair
spleenwort. The blotches are close to the midrib. After wintering they make a sort of cocoon where spores are attached to.
Therefore it isn't easy to be found, but if you look closely, you'll see that the
spores run in a different direction. See the photo of the mine.
A small gray moth, which gives a violet reflection in the sunlight.
Wingspan 9-12 mm. May - June.
A gray moth with two dark spots and
a brown hairy head.
We weren't happy with this moth. Without that we had noticed. they had laid
eggs under the couch. The caterpillars have hatched, they spin a cocoon of silk and the fibres of the food source, here
our rug. They are almost invisible in the rug. The damage to the rug, you can see in the photo.
The caterpillars feed on wool, fur, leather, feathers and hair.
Wingspan 9-16 mm. June - October. In houses also in other months.
(Yponomeuta). Family Ermine moths (Yponomeutidae).
Perhaps Spindle Ermine (Yponomeuta cagnagella) But that isn't certain, because there are more dotted moths, which resemble and so far I haven't seen caterpillars in the
spindle tree. The Orchard Ermine (Yponomeuta padella), and the Apple Ermine
are very similar. All the caterpillars have it their own food plants.
It's a day-flying
Wingspan: 19 to 26 millimeters.
Flying time: June - October. Fortunately only one generation.
They overwinter as young caterpillars in the food plant. The caterpillars feed within a communal web.
This web can completely cover a tree or bush. The webs protect the
caterpillars from predators. They can strip the plant completely. When
they pupate, the tree or bush will recover. The caterpillars haven't poisonous setae (hairs)
like the Processionary (Thaumetopoea processionea).
Photo 9-8-2010. On ragwort
goedartella Genus Argyresthia. Family Ermine moths
A golden night butterfly with white bands.
They fly both at night and afternoons.
Wingspan: 10 to 13 millimeters.
Flying time: May to October.
Host plants: birch, alder.
Larva mines young shoots and catkins of these trees. There it overwinters. After the winter
it leaves that place and pupates in a cocoon under the bark.
Europe, North America.
Not in the garden
but in the dunes 4 km from our house.
moths, Forester moths
A diurnal moth. The red spots on the black forewings resemble drops of blood. The hind wings are red.
It is sometimes mistaken for the cinnabar moth (Tyria jacobaeae).
Wingspan: about 38 mm.
Host plants for the caterpillar are Bird's-foot Trefoil and Greater Bird's-foot Trefoil.
Mei - August. One generation. The caterpillars overwinter.
Photos 26-7-2012. German:
Zygène de la spirée.