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21 July 2015

21 July 2015 – Elegant in Repose

Pimpinel Pug (Eupithecia pimpinellata)

The Field Guide says to be careful not to confuse this moth with the Wormwood Pug; and take care not to mistake it for a Yarrow Pug; it could also be a Campanula Pug.  Fortunately the photograph (above) was taken at high resolution and the moth’s identity has been confirmed by Charlie Fletcher as a Pimpinel Pug (Eupithecia pimpinellata).  The adult moth is rarely seen, coming to light only occasionally, and although there are scattered records throughout the country, nowhere is it common.

Greater Burnet-saxifrage (Pimpinella major) 

The Burnet Saxifrage (Pimpinella saxifraga) is the food-plant of the larva – more particularly it is the ripening seed capsules that the caterpillar feeds on before pupating underground over the winter.  The plant pictured above is the Greater Burnet-saxifrage which is also recognised as a food-plant.  This one is just outside the kitchen at Shandy Hall and Chris has spread seeds from this specimen into the quarry over the last couple of years to encourage its growth. It is an attractive and delicate plant which will be looked at more carefully as the summer ends to see if any caterpillars can be seen.

The scientific name for this species is straightforward – Eupithecia means ‘the goodly dwarf’, the little moths have always seen as elegant in repose; pimpinellata – the larval foodplant.

This new and uncommon moth brings the total to 366 species.