Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Nb

Local Status: Rare and local resident.

Local Record: Grade 3   See here for explanation

Flight time: One generation, Jun-Aug.

Forewing: 16-19mm.

Foodplant: Wormwood.

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 recorded19051905
Year last recorded20092009
Number of records1530
Number of individuals4488
Unique positions816
Unique locations612
Adult records714
Immature records612

For the region, we have a total of 30 records from 12 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1905.


2211 Wormwood 03
© Debra Saunders
2211 Wormwood 02
© Dave Foot
2211 Wormwood 01
© Martin Cade, 26 Jul 2012

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A very local species restricted to the coastal counties of England and Wales, but spread rapidly inland from 1950 occupying waste ground often in towns and cities, only to decline subsequently, the larva feeding on the flowers and seeds of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) and mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris). In Dorset, the moth is confined to Portland where the caterpillars feed on wormwood. This plant is restricted to just a few sites on the Purbeck coast, and on Portland where it used to occur frequently but has decreased markedly in the past twenty years due to human pressures. This once abundant moth has only been recorded once on the island since 1996: Portland, 5 August 2007 (M Cade), and once elsewhere: Upwey, at MV light on 22 July 2004 (P Harris). The following very old record suggests that the species may have been more widespread along the coast in the past: Lulworth (Dale); the foodplant has long since vanished from the Lulworth area. Most of the sites on Portland where wormwood grows are easily accessible, and the larvae easily collectable. The combination of collecting plus the decline in the foodplant has undoubtedly spelt disaster for this fine moth. It is recommended that people refrain from taking this species in any of its stages until viable colonies become established once more. An albinistic form, ab. albescens, where the grey ground colour on the moth is replaced by chalky white was bred from collected larvae on Portland in 1891; the moth is figured in the Entomologist's Record 1951, plate 7, and is in the British Museum.

There is one instance of immigration: Coldharbour, 4 August 2006 (B Withers). This (very worn) example was trapped on the same date as a Great Brocade2137 at Preston, and is likely to have originated from southern Scandinavia. A second Great Brocade was recorded two days later.

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