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Common Carpet Epirrhoe alternata

Reaching a wingspan of 20 to 25 mm the Common Carpet is a medium-sized Geometer. It looks like quite a few similar species: the bands are greyish white and dark brown to black. It is quite variable though. Characteristic of the Common Carpet is the small grey line in the last white band towards the top of the wing. Adults usually fly by night, but are sometimes seen flying about in day light. When resting this species is easily disturbed. In Europe this moth may have up to three breeds a year. In Central Europe it is on the wing from May to October. In Britain there are two breeds in the south (May/June and August/September) and just one breed (July/August) in the North. In Northern America it is reported to be single-brooded.

The eggs are white and laid in rows on the underside of the leaf of the hostplants. The caterpillars are rarely seen, as they feed during the night only. They are usually brown and have four distinct white ovals on the top of the body. In September or October they dig themselves into the soil, make a strong cocoon and pupate. The pupa overwinters. Caterpillars are only found on species of Bedstraw (Galium).

The Common Carpet is a common species all over Britain. It may be found in all environments, including city centers, parks and gardens. Is readily attracted to light.

Also known as White-banded Toothed Carpet and Striped Carpet in the USA and Canada.