Tawny-speckled Pug Geometridae

Eupithecia icterata (Villers, 1789)

Description: Wingspan 20-24 mm. A variable species with different colour forms. The most common of these is whitish grey to pale reddish brown, with fine crosslines which are not always clearly seen especially in paler individuals. There is a small discal spot and darker patches along the costa. The hindwings are paler becoming darker towards the outer margin. There is a small dark discal spot and a pale chequered fringe.

Key Identification Features:

Sets:  male upperside

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

Status: Recorded in recent years from several sites mainly lowland fens and bogs such as Brackagh Moss National Nature Reserve and the Argory, Armagh and Lackan Bog and Murlough National Nature Reserve, Down. It has also been taken in Fermanagh at Garvary Wood. This species was described by Greer in the early part of the last century as being local, but widespread in Tyrone, yet regular fieldwork in this county over the last several years has failed to find it. It probably occurs more widely that records suggest especially where its foodplant is more common.

Ecology: A fairly distinctive species found in a variety of habitats including woodland, coastal grassland, fens and bogs. Adults are attracted to light and the flowers of Ragwort Senecio jacobaea. The larvae feed during September and October on Yarrow Achillea millefolium and Sneezewort A. ptarmica. It overwinters as a pupa.

World Distribution: Widespread across northern and central Europe and the Atlas Mountains in North Africa.

Bradley & Fletcher number: 1838 Agassiz number: 70.187

Additional information:

UK Moths account


 Thompson, R. S. & Nelson, B., 2003 (Oct 2). [In] The Butterflies and Moths of Northern Ireland