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Hebrew Character

Hebrew Character is a moth species, Orthosia gothica, of the family Noctuidae. It is found throughout Europe.

The forewings of this species are greyish to rufous brown. Typically these are marked with a black mark shaped like the Hebrew letter Nun נ). This is similar to the markings of the Setaceous Hebrew Character although the two species are not closely related. In this species this mark is sometimes split in two or even absent. The hindwings are grey.

Technical Description and variation[edit]

See glossary for terms used

The wingspan is 30–40 mm. Forewing sandy rufous, black-speckled, median area generally deeper rufous: lines browner, Forewing purplish red-brown; the lines pale, ill-defined, except by black spots at costa; the cell black; stigmata pale and large; claviform connected with outer line by a black bar; above which the base of vein 2 is often surrounded with rufous; hindwing fuscous.The size of the orbicular stigma is variable, and the amount and shape of the black filling in of the cell is determined by this variation ; — in ab. gothicina H.-Sch. the black markings are replaced by olive brown or rufous; it is a northern form, occurring in Scotland, Scandinavia, and Finland, and in the Tarbagatai Mountains: — askoldensis Stgr. [now full species Orthosia askoldensis] from Amurland and Japan has a more violet grey ground colour; ab. pallida Tutt (22b) has a pale whitish ochreous ground colour; — in rufescens Tutt the reddish tint is predominant: - in rufa Tutt the ground colour is red; — and in brunnea Tutt the rufous tints give place to purplish brown.[1]


This moth flies at night in March and April (sometimes later) [1] and is attracted to light and various flowers.


Larva green dotted all over with yellow; dorsal and subdorsal lines yellowish white; spiracular line broad, white, with dark upper edge; head pale green. It feeds on a wide variety of plants (see list below). This species overwinters as a pupa.

Habitat, Holland

Recorded food plants[edit]

Hebrew letter nun - 15th-century Ashkenazi book-hand

See Robinson, G. S et al.[2]


  1. ^ The flight season refers to the British Isles. This may vary in other parts of the range.


  1. ^ Seitz, A. Ed., 1914 Die Großschmetterlinge der Erde, Verlag Alfred Kernen, Stuttgart Band 3: Abt. 1, Die Großschmetterlinge des palaearktischen Faunengebietes, Die palaearktischen eulenartigen Nachtfalter, 1914
  2. ^ "Robinson, G. S., P. R. Ackery, I. J. Kitching, G. W. Beccaloni & L. M. Hernández, 2010. HOSTS - A Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants. Natural History Museum, London.". 
  • Chinery, Michael Collins Guide to the Insects of Britain and Western Europe 1986 (Reprinted 1991)
  • Skinner, Bernard Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles 1984


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