British Insects: Pug moths (Lepidoptera-Geometridae)
Adults. Posterior tibiae of males 4-spurred. Wingspan 26–28 mm. Forewings rather ample, not noticeably elongate; the outer margin convexly curved; the costa arched; apically blunt.
Forewings relatively conspicuously patterned to dingy; rather uniform light brown, the edges of the obsolete median band faintly black-dotted and angled towards the costa where they form prominent blackish costal spots, with other faint or obsolete striae represented by weaker costal spots; an obscurely whitish subterminal line sometimes anteriorly edged reddish-fuscous. The forewing patterning more or less dominated by the conspicuous, dark discal and smaller costal spots; dominated by two dark costal spots which form with the discal one the corners of a conspicuous anterior-median triangle; triangle of spots not equilateral. Forewings with a dark discal mark. The discal mark very shortly elongate (oval, much larger than in E. absinthiata and E. pimpinellata); not whitish-edged; black and distinct. Forewing fringes conspicuously chequered to somewhat chequered.
Hindwings ochreous-grey, with obscurely darker striae; patterned similarly to the forewings to less conspicuously patterned than the forewings; rather plain (almost uniform); only faintly transversely striated, or without transverse striation; with a clear discal mark (a grey dot, more conspicuous on the underside); the fringes conspicuously chequered.
The abdomen conspicuously patterned, or plain; with an entire black sub-basal band; with a black lateral streak.
Neuration. Forewing and hindwing neuration layout revealed in detail by conspicuous darkening.
Genitalia. The male abdominal plate in the form of a single sclerotized patch with retuse apex, or in the form of a single sclerotized patch with entire apex. The bursa copulatrix ornamented over most of its surface; coarsely, conspicuously spiny (with large spines).
Early stages, ecology. Botanically specialised. Foodplants herbaceous-dicotyledonous; Compositae (Asteraceae). The larvae found on Solidago virgaurea (mainly) but successfully fed on other Compositae in captivity; feeding on flowers.
Months of appearance, distribution. Adults abroad July and August; larvae found in September. South-east England, Central-southern England, South-west England, English Midlands, Northern England, Southern Scotland, Wales, and Ireland (locally common in England and Wales).
Special key characters. Hindwings pale ochreous, or light brown, or pale grey.
Illustrations. • E. expallidata (Bleached Pug), with larva: Barrett. • E. vulgata, E. expallidata, E. absinthiata and E. assimilata, with larvae: Barrett. • E. expallidata (Bleached Pug), with similar Pugs: South. • E. expallidata (Bleached Pug), with other Pugs: Swain. • E. expallidata (Bleached Pug), with other Pugs. • E. expallidata (Bleached Pug), with other Pugs: Newman.
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’.