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Green Carpet (Colostygia pectinataria)

This beautiful moth is easily identified by its green ground colour. The broad band over the forewing however is very variable in colour and may be green, white, pinkish or brownish. The Green Carpet rapidly looses its green colouring when on the wing. The green becomes rather pinkish or brownish. The colour also depends on the angle you look at the wings and the amount of light present. Only very fresh animals have the typical deep bluegreen colour. There is one similar species: the Beech-green Carpet. That species however is darker, often significantly bigger and very rare, except for a few areas in Britain. The Green Carpet is a rather small species, for the wingspan usually is between 25 and 29 mm.

The caterpillar is brown with some white spots and smears. On top it has blackish V or Delta shaped markings. Usually seen from August to May and overwintering. In May it pupates in a loose cocoon in a small hole in the soil. The caterpillar is found on all kinds of bedstraw. It is reported to eat White Deadnettle and Marjoram as well. From the far north, especially Orkney it is reported to feed on Sheep's Sorrel. In the south of England a second generation is now normal, possibly due to the climate change. Elsewhere single-brooded.

In southern England seen from mad-May to mid-July and again in August and early September. Single-brooded northwards, and on the wing from June to August. The Green Carpet is a common species in suburban gardens, orchards, roadsides, open woodlands and grasslands. Seen on the wing from early dusk to after midnight. During the day easily disturbed from bushes. Comes to light at night but in very small numbers only. Widespread all over Britain, including the Hebrides. Elsewhere in Europe a common or even abundant species.