Monday, 24 April 2017

First hawkmoth at Coleshill

Although the temperature dropped quite a bit as the cloud moved off last night, there were 21 moths of 14 different species in the trap this morning including the first Lime Hawkmoth recorded this year, along with Coxcomb Prominent, Chocolate-tip and Frosted Green new for 2017. Also present was this fairly large pug which I'm having trouble placing - the markings being different from the usual Oak-tree and Brindled Pugs seen at this time of year before and the dark stripe along the abdomen was striking. Couldn't get a ruler near it in time for measuring the size before it escaped but it was fairly large at about 20 mm across.

Pug sp. (Coleshill, 24th April)

Olly Fox
Coleshill (VC22)


  1. Hello Olly, my first thought was an exceedingly early Freyer's Pug but I wouldn't like to say for sure. Freyer's doesn't normally start flying until the second half of May but I see that the earliest Bucks record is actually for 10th May (a couple of sightings for that date in 2011). In this very early year I suppose it is not beyond the realms of possibility.

  2. Actually, Marc, Pauper Pug does seem to fit quite nicely with the markings on the abdomen. Olly, do you have a nearby supply of lime (particularly small-leaved lime)?

  3. Thanks for your comments - I had wondered about Pauper Pug because of the abdomen markings and way the pair of wavy cross-lines come across to meet the dark central spot - somewhat differently to the markings on Freyer's Pug. I'm not sure there are many pure Tilia cordata around but there is plenty of Common Lime: an historic avenue (part of the Coleshill House garden) just 5 m away from my trapping site and a number of other old trees surrounding the garden and elsewhere in the parkland. I suppose it would be sensible to preserve a specimen for dissection if it occurs again.

  4. Dear All From the photos and Olly's comments (and before I saw Marc's comment) I don't think there's much doubt that this is Pauper Pug. The size, overall colour, shape of the FW post-median band and the discal mark. Mine all have the dark lateral line on the abdomen but I don't think is diagnostic on its own - Larch Pug e.g. also has that and its not that. It doesn't need Small-leaved Lime and if there are mature limes that close then more will probably come, and yes worth retaining one.

  5. Thanks Martin, I'll hopefully see more specimens and keep one for closer examination.


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