71.003 (1995) Puss Moth Cerura vinula (Linnaeus, 1758)

Resident. Local.
Flight period

Somerville (1859 while on a visit to the Moffat area had found one larva on sallow in August of that year. Sallow is not noted as a foodplant by Waring et al. Lennon (1863) had found it near Tinwald Downs (VC72) and Lochaber in Mabie Forest (VC73). Gordon (1913) found that since many of the young poplar trees had died it had become much scarcer around the Corsemalzie area, with the imagoe rarely seen. However, he did manage to capture a female at rest on a rush stem at the Castle Loch, Mochrum (VC74) on the 28th May 1897.
William Evans in his insect migration research at Scottish lighthouses had a male and female sent to him by D. A. Mowat, the keeper at Killantringan, which had been captured on 30th April 1914. He also received a male the following year.
Sir Arthur Duncan (1909-84) had recorded it from Tynron, Closeburn and Castlehill, Dumfriesshire (all VC72) in his lifetime. David Cunningham (1952) trapped one in June/July 1951 on Tinwald Downs using an MV trap.
In the 1970s it was found on the Silver Flowe, Brigton, Auchenrivock, Lockerbie, Shawhead and Crocketford, with just one record in the 1980s of one trapped on the Hensol Estate. Three larvae were found in September, 1979, on willow in the Langholm area, in eastern Dumfriesshire.
From 1993 to 2010 there were thirty records with Kirkton (13 records) and Auchencairn (six records) providing most. Black Loch at Mochrum, Portpatrick and Forest Moor were the only sites in Wigtownshire where it was recorded.
Life cycle
One generation that is earlier then England, from mid-April to mid-June. Overwinters as a pupa. Larvae are present July to September. If one touches the caterpillar it will rear its head and squirt formic acid.
Larval foodplants
Poplars and willows in sunny areas.
Unmistakeable. Females are larger and have a grey hindwing.
Gardens, moorland, woodland and hedgerows.
Recorders' notes
Can you note the sex please.
© Peter Norman, Auchencairn, 28 April 2010
© Hilary Hawker, Dernaglar Loch, 20 July 2014

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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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