Geometer moth

PHOTO CAPTION: Locomotion of Geometrid caterpillar (photo taken by Keith Edkins)

The geometer moths or Geometridae are a family of the order Lepidoptera. It is a very large family with around 26,000 species of moths described (over 300 of which occur in the British Isles).

Many Geometrids have slender abdomens and broad wings which are usually held flat with the hindwings visible. As such they appear rather butterfly like but in most respects they are typical moths: The overwhelming majority flies at night, they possess a frenulum to link the wings and the antennae of the males are often feathered.

The name Geometer (earth-measurer) refers to the means of locomotion of the larvae or caterpillars. Equipped with claspers at both ends of the body, a caterpillar will clasp with its front legs and draw up the hind end, then clasp with the hind end and reach out for a new front attachment. The impression that it is measuring its journey is inescapable. The caterpillars are accordingly called loopers or inchworms.


Species include:

  • Large emerald moth (Geometra papilionaria)
  • Blotched Emerald (Comibaena bajularia)
  • Common Emerald (Hemithea aestivaria)
  • Blood-vein (Timandra griseata)
  • Small Fan-footed Wave (Idaea biselata)
  • Small Dusty Wave (Idaea seriata)
  • Riband Wave (Idaea aversata)
  • Silver-ground Carpet (Xanthorhoe montanata)
  • Garden Carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuata)
  • Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata)
  • The Spinach (Eulithis mellinata)
  • Barred Straw (Eulithis pyraliata)
  • Common Marbled Carpet (Chloroclysta truncata)
  • Juniper Carpet (Thera juniperata)
  • May Highflyer (Hydriomena impluviata)
  • November Moth (Epirrita dilutata)
  • Pale November Moth (Epirrita christyi)
  • Autumnal Moth (Epirrita autumnata)
  • Winter Moth (Operophtera brumata)
  • Slender Pug (Eupithecia tenuiata)
  • Foxglove Pug (Eupithecia pulchellata)
  • Mottled Pug (Eupithecia exiguata)
  • Lime-speck Pug (Eupithecia centaureata)
  • Wormwood Pug (Eupithecia absinthiata)
  • Currant Pug (Eupithecia assimilata)
  • Common Pug (Eupithecia vulgata)
  • Grey Pug (Eupithecia subfuscata)
  • Tawny Speckled Pug (Eupithecia icterata)
  • Bordered Pug (Eupithecia succenturiata)
  • Ash Pug (Eupithecia fraxinata)
  • Golden-rod Pug (Eupithecia virgaureata)
  • Juniper Pug (Eupithecia pusillata)
  • The V-Pug (Chloroclystis v-ata)
  • Green Pug (Chloroclystis rectangulata)
  • Double-striped Pug (Gymnoscelis rufifasciata)
  • The Streak (Chesias legatella)
  • Treble-bar (Aplocera plagiata)
  • Clouded Border (Lomaspilis marginata)
  • Latticed Heath (Semiothisa clathrata)
  • Brimstone Moth (Opisthograptis luteolata)
  • Purple Thorn (Selenia tetralunaria)
  • Scalloped Hazel (Odontopera bidentata)
  • Scalloped Oak (Crocallis elinguaria)
  • Swallow-tailed Moth (Ourapteryx sambucaria)
  • Feathered Thorn (Colotois pennaria)
  • Peppered moth (Biston betularia)
  • Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria)
  • Mottled Umber (Erannis defoliaria)
  • Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria)
  • Mottled Beauty (Alcis repandata)
  • The Engrailed (Ectropis crepuscularia)
  • Bordered White (Bupalus piniaria)
  • Common White Wave (Cabera pusaria)
  • Common Wave (Cabera exanthemata)
  • Light Emerald (Campaea margaritata)