70.052 (1725) Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe ferrugata (Clerck, 1759)

Resident. Common.
UKBAP Priority Species.
Flight period

The earliest notification of this species is published in Stephens (1829) with the Rev. William Little recording it at Raehills (VC72).
Somerville (1858) on a visit to the Moffat area in August of that year listed its occurrence. Francis Buchanan White of Perth (1895) listed it as occurring in Colvend parish. Gordon (1919) found it common at light at Corsemalzie from mid-May to mid-June. Earliest date was 14th May 1911.
Russell (1944) while staying at Gatehouse of Fleet during 1942-43 found it locally on his walks. Sir Arthur Duncan (1909-84) during his lifetime had found it at Closeburn, Tynron and CastleHill, Dumfries. Pelham-Clinton recorded the only records during the 1960s from Palnackie and Rockcliffe (VC73).
Since the Rothamsted stations were installed there have been many records of this difficult species. With the advent of the portable trap it has been found to be still widespread through the 1990s and the 21st century.
Life cycle
Two overlapping generations. Overwinters as a pupa, which is to be found in a cocoon in plant debris. Larvae are present July to August.
Larval foodplants
Larvae feed on bedstraws, docks and other herbaceous plants.
The notch in the inner edge of the median fascia of the forewing near to the costa mentioned in Skinner (1984, 1998) and Waring et al (2003) as a distinguishing feature from Red Twin-spot Carpet has been proved not to be a reliable feature as both species (Red Twin-spot Carpet) can show it. In the most populous form unidentaria Haworth the central cross band on the forewing is of a blackish-grey (this needs to be viewed in good daylight) and should lack any trace of red or purple. With the wings held in the upright position another clue is the plain-looking undersides which lack of tawny colouring near the apex of the forewing. Some moths may be indeterminate and would require their genitalia checking.
Wide range of habitats.
Recorders' notes
Great care is need in separating this species from Red Twin-spot Carpet. Use the criteria above.
© Keith Naylor, Knowetop Lochs SWT, 1 August 2004

Local distribution map

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Distribution map displays records from the National Biodiversity Network (See terms and conditions).

The following datasets are included:

  • Butterfly Conservation - Macro-moth provisional distribution for the British Isles (excluding the Republic of Ireland) from the National Moth Recording Scheme
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