British Insects: Pug moths (Lepidoptera-Geometridae)

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Eupithecia vulgata (Haworth)

E. clusterata (Hübner), E. austerata (Hübner), E. austeraria Boisduval, E. vulgaria Morris.

Common Pug.

Adults. Posterior tibiae of males 4-spurred. Wingspan 21–23 mm. Forewings distinctly elongate; the outer margin convexly curved; the costa more or less straight to arched; apically blunt to somewhat pointed.

Forewings variously relatively conspicuously patterned to dingy; very variable in colouring, brown to fuscous, usually with reddish tinge, ochreous, or even whitish; with angulated darker fuscous striae including the biangulate postmedian line; the veins partly marked blackish and white, the posterior edge of the median band marked blackish, the subterminal line of whitish dots and forming a small white tornal mark. The forewing patterning usually 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 (but this minute), or without a discal mark. The discal mark if present, dot-like; posteriorly whitish-edged to not whitish-edged; grey, indistinct to black and distinct. Forewings with a pale tornal spot (this usually prominent, tending to crescentic). Forewing fringes somewhat chequered.

Hindwings coloured similarly to the forewings or paler, obscurely striated darker at least dorsally and posteriorly, with a wavy whitish subterminal line more or less defined; patterned similarly to the forewings to less conspicuously patterned than the forewings; conspicuously patterned to rather plain; at least weakly transversely striated (especially dorsally and posteriorly); with a clear discal mark to without a clear discal mark; with a pale tornal spot; the fringes not conspicuously chequered.

The abdomen with sub-basal blackish spots; neither ringed nor banded nor white-based; without a black lateral streak.

Neuration. Forewing and hindwing neuration layout sometimes revealed in detail by conspicuous darkening, 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 unusual, slender spines).

Early stages, ecology. Botanically polyphagous. Foodplants woody-dicotyledonous and herbaceous-dicotyledonous; Caryophyllaceae, Compositae (Asteraceae), Crassulaceae, Ericaceae, Rosaceae, and Salicaceae. The larvae found on divers woody and herbaceous dicots - Achillea, Crataegus, Rubus, Salix, Senecio, Taraxacum, Vaccinium, Sedum, Silene, etc.; feeding on flowers, buds, and leafy shoots (?).

Months of appearance, distribution. Adults abroad May, June, July, August, and September (but mostly encountered May to July); larvae found June, July, and August, or September and October. South-east England, Central-southern England, South-west England, English Midlands, Northern England, Southern Scotland, Northern Scotland, Wales, and Ireland (generally common, in divers habitats).

Melanism. Melanic imagines frequent. The various forms exhibit at least traces of the usual lines, fasciae and marks, including the forewing tornal spot, but the supposed melanic f. atropicta lacks the forewing discal spot.

Special key characters. Forewings without a postmedian line bearing arrow-like markings; at least partially reddish-tinged. Hindwings whitish, or pale ochreous, or light brown, or pale fuscous, or fuscous, or pale grey, or grey.

Illustrations. • E. vulgata (Common Pug), with larva: Barrett. • E. vulgata, E. expallidata, E. absinthiata and E. assimilata, with larvae: Barrett. • E. vulgata (Common Pug), with similar pugs: South. • E. vulgata (Common 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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