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Winter Shade Tortricodes alternella

The Winter Shade is not a very remarkable Tortrix Moths. Actually it is a bit dull. The first part of the upperwings is greyish. Then follows a dark brown wavy line. The remainder of the wing is brownish grey. It has some dark brown dots and dotty lines. The legs are grey showing a few white bands or blobs. But be aware, some animals are not well marked and thus harder to identify, such as the one in the bottom picture. The species is quite big, for a Tortrix that is, because it may reach a wingspan of some 23 mm. The wings are slightly rolled up and tightly folded together. This makes this species unusually slender for a Leaf-rolling Moth.

This is an early species and usually the first Tortrix to be seen in early spring. The Winter Shade is on the wing from February to April. The larvae live between two leaves, spun together. It lives on a great variety of trees and shrubs. Especially oak, birch, hazel and hornbeam are mentioned as food plants.

The males are flying by day and by night, but the female flies by night only. The moths are easily attracted to light. A very common species in England and Wales, sometimes appearing in great numbers. Common in Southern Scotland and a local species in Northern Scotland and Ireland. In other parts of Europa a very common species usually.