Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera

DELTA home

L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Adults nocturnal; relatively medium-bodied; wings in repose packed with the forewings directed backwards to cover hindwings and abdomen.

Antennae very short to of medium length; extending to about 0.5–0.75 times the length of the forewing; not clubbed. Antennae of males bipectinate, or dentate, or simple; when non-pectinate, sometimes fasciculate-ciliate. Eyes glabrous. Ocelli absent. Chaetosemata absent. Maxillary palps much reduced; 1 segmented. Labial palps porrect to ascending; 3 segmented. Proboscis fully developed; not scaly.

Wingspan 17–23 mm; 8–10 times the thoracic width. Forewings broad; 1.5–2 times as long as wide; the outer margin convexly curved; apically blunt; with three subcostal tufts of scales. Hindwings broadly rounded; similar in breadth to the forewings; with a rounded apex; the upper surfaces plain; with a discal spot, or with neither discal spot nor transverse lines; with a frenulum.

Neuration of forewings and hindwings dissimilar. Forewings 10–12 veined (veins 7 or 9 absent often absent); with 1 anal vein. The anal veins of the forewings representing 1b only. Forewings lacking a tubular vein 1c. Vein 1b of the forewings furcate proximally to simple (the Le Cerf & Herbulot and Meyrick figures of Nola confusalis in conflict). Discal cell of the forewings without a tubular media (M) vein. Hindwings 8 veined, or 9 veined; with 2 anal veins. The anal veins of the hindwings comprising 1a and 1b. Hindwings exhibiting vein 1a; lacking a tubular vein 1c. Vein 1b of the hindwings simple. The hindwing cell emitting more than six veins, or emitting no more than six veins. 6 veins arising from the hindwing cell, or 7 veins arising from the hindwing cell (vein 4 sometimes missing, or coincident with 3). The cell-derived hindwing veins 6+7 proximally joined. Vein 8 of the hindwings anastomosing with the upper margin of the cell (from near its base to the middle), or arising from the upper margin of the cell (from near the middle); not approximating to vein 7.

Fore-legs with a tibial epiphysis. Tibiae of middle legs 2-spurred. Posterior tibiae 4-spurred.

Tympanal organs present; metathoracic.

Eggs, larvae and pupae. Eggs strongly ribbed and/or reticulate. Larval prolegs 8 (lacking from the third abdominal segment). Larvae conspicuously, densely long-hairy (with hair-tufts). On woody and herbaceous Rosaceae, also Papilionaceae and Fagaceae.

Pupae concealed; above the ground. Empty pupae not becoming protruded.

British representation. Genera 2; 5 species. Meganola albula (Kent Black Arches), Meganola strigula (Small Black Arches), Nola aerugula (Scarce Black Arches), Nola confusalis (Least Black Arches), Nola cucullatella (The Short-cloaked Moth).

Classification. Macromoths. Suborder Ditrysia. Superfamily Noctuoidea.

Illustrations. • Meganola and Nola: Newman. • Meganola strigula (Small Black Arches: B. Ent. 428). • Meganola strigula (legend+text: B. Ent. 428). • Meganola strigula (text, cont.: B. Ent. 428). • Nycteola degenarana, N. revayana, N. siculana: Hübner VII, 1796. • Nola cucullatella (24) and Meganola strigula: Kirby 22 (part). • Nola confusalis: neuration.

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the families of Lepidoptera. Version: 8th June 2016.’.