British Insects: Pug moths (Lepidoptera-Geometridae)

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Eupithecia absinthiata (Clerck)

Minutata Denis and Schiffermüller, elongata Haworth, innotata sensu Wood, minutaria Boisduval, elongaria Doubleday, knautiana Gregson; excluding E. goossensiata Mabille.

Wormwood Pug.

Adults. Posterior tibiae of males 4-spurred. Wingspan 24–26 mm. Forewings distinctly elongate to not noticeably elongate; the outer margin convexly curved; the costa more or less straight; apically blunt to somewhat pointed.

Forewings relatively conspicuously patterned to dingy; rather uniformly brown, reddish- or purplish-tinged, with faint obtusely angulated striae, these blackish on the costa and the edges of the median band forming costal spots; sometimes with a geniculate postmedian fascia detectable; subterminal line whitish, interrupted or obsolete apart from the tornal spot. The forewing patterning more or less dominated by the conspicuous, dark discal and smaller costal spots to not restricted to dark discal or costal and discal spots; dominated by two dark costal spots which form with the discal one the corners of a conspicuous anterior-median triangle; triangle of spots when conspicuous, not equilateral. Forewings with a dark discal mark. Forewings with a pale tornal spot. Forewing fringes not chequered.

Hindwings similar in colour to the forewings, or lighter or greyer; less conspicuously patterned than the forewings (similarly coloured or paler); rather plain (the striae and fasciae obsolete); weakly transversely striated (with faint, darker striae), or without transverse striation; with a clear discal mark (this dark grey), or without a clear discal mark; with a pale tornal spot to without a pale tornal spot; the fringes not conspicuously chequered.

The abdomen conspicuously patterned; with an interrupted black sub-basal band.

Neuration. Vein 10 of the forewings arising out of 11 and anastomosing with 9 to form a simple areole.

Genitalia. The male abdominal plate in the form of a single sclerotized patch with entire apex (this elongate from a broad base).

Early stages, ecology. Botanically polyphagous. Foodplants herbaceous-dicotyledonous; Compositae (Asteraceae) and Labiatae (Lamiaceae). The larvae found on divers Compositae (Artemisia, Achillea, Senecio, etc.), also Ballota and Origanum; feeding on flowers.

Months of appearance, distribution. Adults abroad June and July; larvae found August, September, and October. South-east England, Central-southern England, South-west England, English Midlands, Northern England, Southern Scotland, Northern Scotland, Wales, and Ireland (widespread and common throughout the British Isles, except for the Shetlands).

Special key characters. Forewings at least partially reddish-tinged. Hindwings ochreous, or purplish, or light brown, or brown, or pale fuscous, or pale grey, or grey.

Illustrations. • E. absinthiata (Wormwood Pug), with larva: Barrett. • E. vulgata, E. expallidata, E. absinthiata and E. assimilata, with larvae: Barrett. • E. pygmaeata, E. trisignaria, E. valerianata, E. fraxinata, cf. E. absinthiata, E. simpliciata and E. denotata, with larvae: Barrett. • E. absinthiata, with 15 other pugs illustrated by Hubner (1790–1817). • E. absinthiata (Wormwood Pug), with similar Pugs: South. • E. absinthiata (Wormwood Pug), with other Pugs: Swain. • cf. E. absinthiata(Wormwood Pug), with larva: Barrett.


To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. British insects: Pug moths (Lepidoptera-Geometridae). Version: 29th December 2011. http://delta-intkey.com’.

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