British Insects: Pug moths (Lepidoptera-Geometridae)

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Eupithecia tripunctaria Herrich-Schäffer

E. albipunctata Haworth.

White-spotted Pug.

Adults. Thorax with a white posterior spot. Posterior tibiae of males 4-spurred. Wingspan 21–24 mm. Forewings not noticeably elongate; margin convexly curved; arched; apically blunt.

Forewings relatively conspicuously patterned to dingy; grey to fuscous, usually with a very obscure geniculate postmedian fascia and numerous obscure, darker, angulated and sometimes dotted striae which tend to darken and form spots on the costa; also a fairly inconspicuous subterminal line of whitish dots, a small pale tornal spot and sometimes a submedian one as well; veins beyond the middle marked with blackish dashes and pale dots; the fringe scarcely chequered. The forewing patterning more or less confined to the dark discal spot (f. angelicata), or not restricted to dark discal or costal and discal spots to more or less confined to the dark discal spot; without a predominant anterior-median triangle of dark spots. Forewings with a dark discal mark. The discal mark somewhat elongate (oval); not whitish-edged; black and distinct. Forewings with a pale tornal spot. Forewing fringes somewhat chequered to not chequered.

The termen of the hindwings convexly rounded; apex somewhat pointed to smoothly rounded into the costa; hindwings whitish-grey with interrupted darker grey striations (these darker posteriorly and towards the base); hindwings patterned similarly to the forewings to less conspicuously patterned than the forewings; hindwings fairly conspicuously patterned to rather plain; hindwings usually transversely striated (especially posteriorly and postmedianly); hindwings with a clear discal mark (this dark grey, minute); hindwings usually with a pale tornal spot; fringes not conspicuously chequered.

The abdomen conspicuously patterned; neither ringed nor banded nor white-based; with a black lateral streak.

Neuration. Forewing and hindwing neuration layout revealed in detail by conspicuous darkening (including the outlines of the cells, in some melanics), or not conspicuously darkened.

Genitalia. The male abdominal plate in the form of a single sclerotized patch with a pair of apical extensions (the prongs very short). The bursa copulatrix with ornamentation conspicuously restricted in distribution (median only); only inconspicuously spiny (mostly scobinate, with some small spines).

Early stages, ecology. Botanically specialised, or polyphagous (the first brood seemingly specialising more than the second). Foodplants herbaceous-dicotyledonous; Sambucaceae (the first brood), or Compositae (Asteraceae) and Umbelliferae (Apiaceae). The larvae found on Sambucus nigra, Angelica, Heracleum, Pastinaca, etc. (those of the first brood only seemingly mainly on Sambucus); feeding on flowers.

Months of appearance, distribution. Adults abroad May and June, or August and September; larvae found June and July, or 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 locally common throughout England and Wales, seemingly absent from upland regions of Scotland, in Ireland and scarce and mostly western).

Melanism. Melanics of E. tripunctaria, E. trisignaria, E. subfuscata, E. virgaureata and E. lariceata are not reliably separable without resort to the genitalia. The dark fuscous to blackish f. angelicata lacks the usual metathoracic crest and tornal spots, with markings restricted to the conspicuous forewing discal spot and the darkened nervures, while the very dark f. intermedia retains the subterminal line and tornal mark.

Special key characters. Forewings not dominated by double ante- and postmedian lines. Hindwings pale fuscous, or pale grey.

Illustrations. • E. tripunctaria (White-spotted Pug, with larva: Barrett. • E. lariceata, E. subfuscata, E. tripunctaria and E. pimpinellata, with larvae: Barrett. • E. tripunctaria (White-spotted Pug, typical form), with other pugs: South. • E. tripunctaria (White-spotted Pug, melanic var. angelicata), with other Pugs: South. • E. tripunctaria (White-spotted Pug), with other Pugs: 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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