Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Common

Local Status: Fairly common and widespread resident.

Local Record: Grade 1   See here for explanation

Flight time: Two generations, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep.

Forewing: 10-13mm.

Foodplant: Blackthorn, Hawthorn, Crab Apple.

IMPORTANT - Please note that the maps and accounts are provisional, subject to change and further update.  The whole dataset still needs to go through the final verification process and it is likely that a very small number of records will not satisfy the present requirements and there are other records that have not been formally submitted.  The information is for guidance only.

Record breakdown:

Year first recorded190519991905
Year last recorded201120112011
Number of records2396134818
Number of individuals3400126824
Unique positions2154438
Unique locations1554318
Adult records1929113880
Immature records204

For the region, we have a total of 4818 records from 318 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1905.


1651 Chinese Character 03
© Paul Harris
1651 Chinese Character 02
© Phyl England 11/06/2012
1651 Chinese Character 01
© Tom Morris

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A species occurring in all districts apart from northern Scotland, the larva feeding on blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), apple (Malus spp.), bramble (Rubus fruticosus) and pear (Pyrus communis). The snowy-white ground colour of the moth plus its roof-like posture when at rest gives the impression of a bird dropping. The vernacular name comes from the pattern made by the group of silvery scales on the branched wing rays in the centre of the forewing. In Dorset, the moth is common where blackthorn abounds, at low density where hawthorn is dominant, and rarely seen in habitats where blackthorn and hawthorn are absent. The peak of the second brood is on average, twice as large as that of the first.

See background to species accounts.  Index of Vernacular names - Search - Random Species