Xestia rhomboidea (Esper, [1790])

Synonyms/other combinations:
Xestia stigmatica

Xestia rhomboidea: Adult (e.l. eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany 2010) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Adult (e.l. eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany 2011) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Adult (e.l. eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany 2011) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Adult (e.l. eastern Swabian Alb 2008) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Adult (e.l. eastern Swabian Alb 2008) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Young larva (Memmingen, November 2011) [M] Xestia rhomboidea: Young larva (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, November 2011) [M] Xestia rhomboidea: Young larva (eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, November 2011) [M] Xestia rhomboidea: Young larva (Memmingen, November 2011). The young larvae show a high contrast between dark and light colour (more intense and darker than in Xestia baja). [M] Xestia rhomboidea: Young larva (Memmingen, November 2011) [M] Xestia rhomboidea: Young larva (eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, November 2011) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Young larva (Memmingen, November 2011) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Half-grown larva (Steigerwald, N-Bavaria, November 2010) [M] Xestia rhomboidea: Half-grown larva (eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany 2011) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (e.l. Memmingen 2011). Many larvae are only weakly sketched in last instar. Typical is the distinct, quite broad white dorsal line on the pronotum which fades quickly to the rear.. [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (Memmingen 2011) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (Memmingen 2011) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (Memmingen 2011) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (Memmingen 2011).  [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany 2011) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany 2011) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, April 2010) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (more sketched form) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (more sketched form) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (more sketched form) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (more sketched form) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (e.l. Memmingen 2011) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (Swabian Alb, Southern Germany 2011) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larva (eastern Swabian Alb, April 2008) [M] Xestia rhomboidea: Pupa (e.l. Memmingen 2011) [S] Xestia rhomboidea: Larval habitat in the Steigerwald in N-Bavaria: periodically wet wood edges (November 2011) [N] Xestia rhomboidea: Larval habitat on the eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany (November 2010) [N] Xestia rhomboidea: Larval habitat at a stream in the eastern Swabian Alb, Southern Germany, where also Naenia typica, Mormo maura, Arctia caja, Xestia baja and Diarsia brunnea occur (October 2011). [N]

Host plants:
The caterpillars are polyphagous. I found them in April and May in the northern foreland of the Alps near Memmingen, mostly on Urtica dioica, but also Lamium, Rubus idaeus and others. On the eastern Swabian Alb, I observed caterpillars in the autumn 2011 on Urtica along wooded streams and at bushy forest edges as well as on bushy margins of seasonally dry grasslands. In spring, the caterpillars often climb on shrubs like Prunus spinosa or Lonicera xylosteum at night (observations on the Alb).

Habitat:
Xestia rhomboidea inhabits edges in forests as trail sides, scrub areas, stream margins (also wood galleries along streams outside the forest), hedges in forest-near grassland areas and is also found in the interior of light woodlands. According to my own observations, slight to moderate moist or at least seasonally moist habitats are preferred and too xerothermic places more avoided.

Life cycle:
The caterpillar overwinters and can be found in April and early May with a kocket lamp. Then it sits at night preferentially at Rubus idaeus shoots, young shrubs or at the tip of sprouting nettles. The mature caterpillar rests unpupated in the pupation shelter for a few weeks (about 3 to 5, breeding observations) what stands in contrast to Xestia ditrapezium and X. triangulum, which pupate without much rest. This explains the reltive later flight time of Xestia rhomboidea from late June to early September, with a focus on the end of July and in August. In the autumn, the caterpillars appear accordingly later and can be tapped from the end of October to November in the herbaceous layer.

Remarks:
The distribution extends from the Pyrenees across much of Europe to Kazakhstan.



Xestia ashworthii | Xestia baja | Xestia c-nigrum | Xestia collina | Xestia ditrapezium | Xestia mejiasi | Xestia ochreago | Xestia sexstrigata | Xestia triangulum | Xestia xanthographa 
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