- Subfamily: Ennominae, Bistonini
- Wingspan: 40-52 mm
- Flight period: Feb - Jun
- Spread: Common
- Host plants: Polyphagous
The Lycia hirtaria also called Brindled Beauty is a moth of the Geometridae family, subfamily Ennominae, with a wingspan of 40-52 mm.
It is distributed throughout Europe. * In Italy it is absent from Sicily. *
Its range extends as far as the Caucasus, Transcaucasia, Asia Minor, Southern Siberia, Yakutia, the Russian Far East, Sakhalin and Japan
Lycia hirtaria is a large moth, with a pattern that provides almost perfect camouflage on tree trunks. The background color of the front wings is generally gray with black dusting. There are three dark lines, two curved between the discal and postdiscal regions and one in the basal region.
The hind wings are also gray in color with two or three dark transverse lines. The sexual dimorphism is not very evident and is represented by a yellow shade present on the wings of the females and the front edges of their front wings are lighter. Males display large comb antennae. The head, thorax and abdomen are dark gray in color. **
The Lycia hirtaria has one generation per year that goes from March to the end of May depending on the latitude, from the basal plane up to about 1,300 m. Males are attracted to artificial light, and for this reason they are more easily observed than females. ***
The egg is ellipsoid, micropilar and somewhat concave and granulated; the rest of the surface is quite shiny, the granulation can be recognized by a strong magnification. ****
The caterpillar varies according to the stages. In the juvenile stages it has a dark gray color with black filiform longitudinal lines and with evident yellow spots near the junctions of the segments.
In the mature stages the background color is green / greyish gray / purplish, both the black lines and the yellow spots are much less evident. The caterpillar is polyphagous, it feeds mainly from late spring to early summer on broad-leaved trees and deciduous shrubs
It overwinters at the pupa stage. The pupa is reddish brown, the Cremaster has the terminal part divided in two. **
As mentioned, there are many host plants of Lycia hirtaria among these we find, Betula (birch), Quercus (oak), Alnus (alder), Fraxinus (ash), Ulmus (elm), Salix (willow), Populus (poplar), Berberis, Ribes, Rosa, Rubus (bramble), Filipendula, Malus sp. (Including the apple tree), Sorbus (rowan), Crataegus (hawthorn), Prunus sp. (plum), Tilia (lime) and Rhamnus (ramno), Vaccinium sp. (blueberry).
* Lepidoptera mundi https://lepidoptera.eu/ - Fauna Europea https://fauna-eu.org/
** Bestimmungshilfe für die in Europa nachgewiesenen Schmetterlingsarten - http://lepiforum.de/
*** Roland Robineau, Guide de papillons nocturne de France, Delachaux et Niestlé, 2011 p.77
**** National Museums Northern Ireland, - http://www.habitas.org.uk