73.015 (2441) Silver Y Autographa gamma (Linnaeus, 1758)

Flight period

The earliest notification of this species is published in Stephens (1829) with the Rev. William Little recording it at Raehills (VC72).
Lennon (1863) stated it was common everywhere in his 'List of Lepidoptera taken near Dumfries.' Gordon (1913) found it abundant everywhere in Wigtownshire, especially in the autumn. It was also attracted to sugar.
William Evans (1915) was informed by D. A. Mowat, keeper at Killantringan Lighthouse, Wigtownshire, that a notable "rush" occurred on the night of 19th September 1913, which included 293 Silver Y's between 22:00 and 23:00 hours. Prior to this, 89 males and 79 females were captured on 31st August 1913, with 111 (80 males, 31 females) in late September 1913. Further records occurred during 1914-15 of this regular migrant.
Archibald Russell (1944) listed it as occurring near Gatehouse of Fleet (VC73) during the years 1942-43. Sir Arthur Duncan (1909-84) during his lifetime had found it at Closeburn, Tynron and Castlehill, Dumfries (all VC72).
During 1974-92 all seven Rothamsted stations recorded nearly 300 records.
But from 1987 to 2010 there was sharp increase in the number of records, with over 1200 being logged. Many were from the regular trapped sites, transect walks in Mabie Forest, with others from widely scattered sites across the region.
Form ab. nigricans Spuler
A few have been recorded in both Dumfriesshire and Kirkcudbrightshire, but none have occurred in Wigtownshire. They have a velvet-black appearance.

Form gammina Staudinger
This smaller form is thought to be caused by starvation in the larval stage. It has occurred in this region.
Life cycle
Probably breeds every summer. Larvae can be found from spring to autumn. Unable to survive our winter.
Larval foodplants
Bedstraws, Common Nettle and clovers.
Fairly distinctive, but care required to separate from similar noctuid species, including other immigrants.
Mainly coastal sites, but also inland sunny sites.
Recorders' notes
Records of the melanistic f. nigricans would be welcome.
© Keith Naylor, Dalbeattie, 2 September 2005
© Peter Norman, form nigricans

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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