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Vestal (moth)

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Title: Vestal (moth)  
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Subject: Geometer moth
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Vestal (moth)

Rhodometra sacraria
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Geometridae
Genus: Rhodometra
Species: R. sacraria
Binomial name
Rhodometra sacraria
Linnaeus, 1767
  • Rhodometra fulvaria (Fabricius, 1794)
  • Rhodometra labda (Cramer, 1777)
  • Rhodometra minervae (Gistl, 1856)
  • Rhodometra sacralis (Thunberg, 1784)
  • Rhodometra sanguinaria (Esper, 1801)[1]

The Vestal (Rhodometra sacraria) is a moth of the family Geometridae.


Rhodometra sacraria has a wingspan reaching 22–28 mm, while the length of the forewings is 12–14 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 up to the apex. The dorsal sides of the hind wings are whitish. The intensity and the extent of the pink pigmentation is rather variable, depending on the seasonal temperature in the development of the pupae.

Usually the moths rest with a tent-like posture on twigs and herbs, with the wings parallel to each other. They fly from April to October [1]. They are nocturnal and attracted to light.

The caterpillars mimic twigs and therefore they are quite difficult to locate. They are slender and reach a length of about 25 millimeters. The basic colour is pale brown or green, with a whitish underside. The green forms usually show a dark brown or reddish irregular stripe on the back. The head is reddish brown and relatively small. These caterpillars feed on knotgrass, dock and other low growing plants.


It is found throughout Europe, Africa and large parts of Asia.


This species inhabits meadows, forest clearing, paths, gardens and urban environments.


  1. ^ The flight season refers to the Belgium and The Netherlands. This may vary in other parts of the range.


  • G. F. Hampson: The Fauna of British India. Moths. Vol. III. S. 424, Taylor and Francis, London 1895
  • Axel Hausmann: The Geometrid moths of Europe, 2. Sterrhinae. In A. Hausmann (Hrsg.): The Geometrid Moths of Europe 2. Apollo Books, Stenstrup 2004, ISBN 8-788-75737-4

External links

  • Fauna europaea
  • Lepidoptera of Belgium
  • The Vestal at UKmoths
  • Habitas
  • Moths and butterflies of Europe and North Africa

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