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27 June 2014

26 June 2014 – ‘These pretty moths’

Lime-speck Pug (Eupithecia centauriata)

A strongly marked pug in the moth trap is a pug most welcome and when it is three on the trot, it becomes a celebration. Pugs are normally so difficult to identify as they all look pretty much the same and as they are also delicate and flighty – flapping away at the slightest disturbance – they are rarely greeted with unbridled enthusiasm.  

These three ambassadors for the group are a different story – bold clear markings and unmistakable. Well the Lime-speck at least.  What a beauty.  Named Eupethicia (goodly dwarf) “because these pretty moths… are characterized by the elegant attitude in which they repose, with their wings beautifully expanded, lying close to the surface on which they rest” [AH Howarth].  They feed on knapweed – centaurea.  This one can’t be added to the Shandy Hall list for it was caught and identified this morning in the Yorkshire Museum gardens where we are conducting our research into the York city-centre moth population. But it is a new one for YO1. 

Toadflax Pug (Eupithecia linariata)

And here is a similar story.  Yesterday this freshly emerged Toadflax Pug was trapped in the museum gardens close to the stand of trees next to the ruined abbey.  It’s another new one for the gardens, not seen yet at Shandy Hall and takes its name from the foodplant: linaria – toadflax.  It can be confused with the Foxglove Pug (Euthepicia pulchellata) but Stuart Ogilvy in York is as confident as I am that this identification is correct.  A new moth for YO1 and another yet to be seen in Coxwold.

Green Pug (Pasiphila rectangulata)


is a new name for this insect. It used to be Chloroclystis – meaning : fugitive green colour (as with many green moths the colour fades quickly); rectangulata : from a rectangle of dark spots on the underwing.  Again a new pug for the Yorkshire Museum gardens and a relatively simple identification.