British Insects: Pug moths (Lepidoptera-Geometridae)

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Eupithecia pygmaeata (Hübner)

Marsh Pug.

Adults. Posterior tibiae of males 4-spurred. Wingspan 15–18 mm. Forewings not noticeably elongate; the outer margin convexly curved; the costa more or less straight; apically blunt to somewhat pointed.

Forewings dingy; dark leaden brown/fuscous, sometimes whitish-mixed, most markings inconspicuous or absent or with curved, obscurely darker striae; the subterminal line consisting of fairly inconspicuous whitish dots or obsolete save for the larger, tornal one; the fringe only obscurely chequered. Forewings without a discal mark. Forewings with a pale tornal spot. Forewing fringes only somewhat chequered.

Hindwings coloured like the forewings, but the markings almost obsolete apart from the tornal spot; even less conspicuously patterned than the forewings; rather plain; almost without transverse striation; without a clear discal mark; with a pale tornal spot; the fringes not conspicuously chequered.

The abdomen not reddish towards the base; plain; neither ringed nor banded nor white-based; laterally neither black-streaked nor black-spotted.

Genitalia. The male abdominal plate in the form of two separate sclerotized components. The bursa copulatrix with ornamentation conspicuously restricted in distribution (the bursa with conspicuous smooth regions); conspicuously spiny.

Early stages, ecology. Botanically specialised. Foodplants herbaceous-dicotyledonous; Caryophyllaceae. The larvae found on Stellaria and Cerastium species; feeding on flowers.

Months of appearance, distribution. Adults abroad May and June; larvae found June and July. South-east England, Central-southern England, English Midlands, Northern England, Southern Scotland, Northern Scotland, Wales, and Ireland (local and scarce, but widespread almost throughout the British Isles; uncommon or absent in southern England, and absent from the western isles of Scotland and the Shetlands).

Special key characters. Hindwings fuscous, or whitish and pale fuscous.

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


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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