Grey Pine Carpet (Thera obeliscata)

The Grey Pine Carpet often is a very difficult species to identify. It comes in two basic colours: grey and reddish brown. The reddish brown ones are no problem. All moths looking like this with a reddish brown glow all over the upperwing are Grey Pine Carpets (yes, what's in a name!). This reddish brown variation is especially common in northern Britain. The grey animals look like the Spruce Carpet so much, that you'll need expert information to tell them apart. That's more than we can handle on our site. Another greyish carpet looks like this one: the Pine Carpet. The inner band on the wing of this species has a curve with a sharp angle. The other species mentioned only have rounded curves.

The Grey Pine Carpet is double-brooded. The two generations partially overlap. The larvae of the summer generation are seen in June and July. They are green. Low along the sides is a whitish line and the legs are pinkish. They may grow up to 30 mm and live on many species of pine and similar trees, such as Norway Spruce and Douglas fir. The larvae are extremely hard to find among the needles of these trees. The autumn generation hibernates as a small larva.

Of all Thera species this one is most common. It varies a lot in size and the wingspan may be anything from 28 to 36 mm. A common and sometimes abundant species where pines are, including coastal areas. Elsewhere absent. The Grey Pine Carpet is on the wing from half May to well into October, but with considerably lower numbers in July and the first part of August. Is attracted to lights, sometimes even in great numbers. Common all through Britain, including the Hebrides. Elsewhere in Europe very common in conifer plantations and pine woods too.