70.252 (1931) Peppered Moth Biston betularia (Linnaeus, 1758)

Resident. Common.
Flight period

Somerville (1858) while on a visit to the Moffat area had found the larvae on birch during August. Lennon (1863) during his rambles had found it at Dalscone and Marchmount (VC72).
During June 1914, William Evans received a specimen from D. A. Mowat, keeper at Killantringan Lighthouse, as part of his research into insect migration at Scottish lighthouses.
Gordon (1919) found it to be scarcer than it was formerly, but that it was not uncommon in woods around Corsemalzie (VC74) during May. On the 18th June 1896 while on a fishing trip he had caught a large female, alive, which had been sitting on a stone about a foot below the surface of the water and in good condition. As we all know moths can survive in the bottom of traps in water and by gently taking them out to dry they survive. Earliest date was 1st May 1898.
Sir Arthur Duncan (1909-84) during his lifetime had found it at Closeburn, Tynron and Castlehill, Dumfries (all VC72). There was a fine series of captures at Irvine House Lodge, Auchenrivock, during 1974.
Very few records, in fact just thirteen, from five of the Rothamsted stations. However, it was trapped regularly on the Hensol Estate during the early 1980s.
From 1992 to 2010 there were four hundred records, mostly from the regularly trapped sites at Kirkton, Cally Woods, Forest Moor, Kirkcudbright, Durisdeer and Old Torr, with the rest from widely scattered sites across the region.

Melanic form carbonaria Jordan
A specimen resides in the National Museums Scotland and was taken at Lannhall, Tynron on 11th July 1951.
Life cycle
One generation. Overwinters as a pupa just below the surface. Larvae are present early July to late September.
Larval foodplants
Larvae feed on a wide range of trees and some herbaceous plants.
Found in a wide range of habitats, usually with trees.
© Keith Naylor, Dalbeattie, 21 May 2010
© Gavin Chambers, Barclye, 7 September 2011

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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