Cloaked Pug Geometridae

Eupithecia abietaria (Goeze, 1781)

Description: Wingspan 21-25 mm. Forewings pale to darkish grey with dark broad crosslines. There is a large black discal spot near the median area of the forewing close to the costa and a fine broken black line along the outer margin of the forewing. Hindwings paler with a small discal spot.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

Flight Period: End of May to late July. Skinner gives June and July as the normal flight period in Britain.

Status: This species was widely recorded in the early part of the nineteenth century and described by Donovan (1936) as widespread among spruce. It then seemed to undergo a dramatic decline both here and in Britain, with no reports in N. Ireland for many years. In 1999 a single specimen was taken at Bohill near Ballynahinch, Down which was initially thought to be a Grey Birch Aethalura punctulata. This misidentification was subsequently corrected by a leading British expert. Since then several other specimens have been taken in the same locality during 2000.

Ecology: A large distinctive pug mainly associated spruce plantations. All of the records to date have been of adults beaten from the foliage of various trees within a small area. The larvae feed inside on cones of Norway Spruce Picea abies, Noble Fir Abies procera and Silver Fir A. alba during August and September. It overwinters as a pupa.

World Distribution: Throughout central and southern Europe, east to the Urals. It has also been found in North America.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 1815 Agassiz number: 70.149

Additional information:

UK Moths account

Caterpillar: 

 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland
http://www.ulstermuseum.org.uk/lepidoptera/species.asp?item=5897

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