British Insects: Pug moths (Lepidoptera-Geometridae)

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Eupithecia fraxinata Crewe

E. innotata f. fraxinata Crewe and f. tamarisciata Freyer.

Ash Pug, Tamarisk Pug.

Adults. Posterior tibiae of males 4-spurred. Wingspan 21–25 mm. Forewings distinctly elongate; the outer margin convexly curved to more or less straight, or sigmoid-curved; the costa more or less straight to arched; apically blunt to somewhat pointed.

Forewings dingy; dark grey or fuscous, with indistinct to obsolete dark angulated striae tending to be darker from the angle to the costa; veins in the feeble median band sometimes black-marked; the subterminal line pale wavy, fairly well defined to interrupted and obsolete or reduced to a tornal mark or dot. 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; without a predominant anterior-median triangle of dark spots. Forewings with a dark discal mark. The discal mark very shortly elongate; black and distinct. Forewings with a pale tornal spot (when the subterminal line is thus reduced), or without a tornal spot (when it is not). Forewing fringes somewhat chequered to not chequered.

Hindwings grey-whitish; paler but patterned similarly to the forewings to less conspicuously patterned than the forewings; fairly conspicuously patterned to rather plain; transversely striated to without transverse striation (i.e., darkly to obscurely striated postmedianly and dorsally); with a clear discal mark (this dark grey); without a pale tornal spot; the fringes not conspicuously chequered.

The abdomen conspicuously patterned; neither ringed nor banded nor white-based; with a black lateral streak (according to Meyrick).

Neuration. Forewing and hindwing neuration layout revealed in detail by conspicuous darkening (in unicolorous forms), or not conspicuously darkened.

Genitalia. The male abdominal plate in the form of a single sclerotized patch with entire apex. The bursa copulatrix ornamented over most of its surface; conspicuously spiny (with only smallish, slender spines).

Early stages, ecology. Botanically rather polyphagous. Foodplants woody-dicotyledonous, or woody-dicotyledonous and herbaceous-dicotyledonous; Caprifoliaceae, Compositae (Asteraceae), Elaeagnaceae, Oleaceae, and Tamaricaceae. The larvae found on Fraxinus exelsior, Hippophaë and Tamarix (but in captivity taking lilac, Artemisia and Viburnum); feeding on flowers and leafy shoots.

Months of appearance, distribution. Adults abroad May and June, or July and August (double brooded); larvae found June, July, August, and September. South-east England, Central-southern England, South-west England, English Midlands, Northern England, Southern Scotland, Northern Scotland, Wales, and Ireland (widespread locally associated with ash, but commonest in coastal localities associated with Hippophaë).

Melanism. Melanic imagines frequent. All the British material approaches melanism, with some individuals very weakly marked only by the discal spots and the faint tornal one (e.g., f. unicolor).

Special key characters. Forewings fuscous, or dark grey. Hindwings whitish, or pale fuscous, or pale grey.

General comments. Coastal English records of the mainland-European E. innotata (Hufnagel) are mostly old and dubious, while E. fraxinata is widely distributed throughout the British Isles.

Illustrations. • E. fraxinata (Ash Pug), with larva: Barrett. • E. pygmaeata, E. trisignaria, E. valerianata, E. fraxinata, cf. E. absinthiata, E. simpliciata and E. denotata, with larvae: Barrett. • E. fraxinata (Ash Pug), with similar Pugs: South. • E. fraxinata (Ash Pug), with other Pugs: Swain (5).


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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