Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Local

Local Status: Uncommon and local resident.

Local Record: Grade 3   See here for explanation

Flight time: One generation, Jul-Aug

Forewing: M 16-20mm. F 18-19mm.

Foodplant: Bramble, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Dog-rose, sallows.

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 recorded190519831905
Year last recorded201120112011
Number of records8611221966
Number of individuals38242298106
Unique positions18525420
Unique locations15522354
Adult records7721181780
Immature records12228

For the region, we have a total of 1966 records from 354 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1905.


2029 Brown-tail 07 with faint dark spots at the trailing corner
© Julian Francis
2029 Brown-tail 06 larvae
© Julian Francis
2029 Brown-tail 05 larvae
© Julian Francis
2029 Brown-tail 04 larva
© Jack Oughton
2029 Brown-tail 03 larval nest
© Wren Franklin
2029 Brown-tail 02 larvae
© Wren Franklin
2029 Brown-tail 01
© Tom Morris

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A mainly coastal species in southern and eastern England, the larva feeding on blackthorn (Prunus spp.), hawthorn (Crataegus spp.), bramble (Rubus fruticosus) and various other deciduous trees and shrubs. The species is notorious for its ability to accumulate plague-sized populations of larvae that destroy large quantities of foliage and to cause rashes on skin when handled. In extreme situations, local councils are obliged to implement pest control measures. The moth is a serious pest in orchards in North America following accidental introduction there. In Dorset, the moth is headquartered along the coast, especially where blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) thickets abound and significant defoliation in the immediate vicinity of the web sometimes creates a scrub canopy devoid of any leaves, for example almost annually to the west of Anvil Point at Durlston. Observations from inland localities suggest either occasional dispersal from the coast or transient colonisation, for example: in excess of one hundred nests along a two-hundred metre stretch of blackthorn and hawthorn hedgerow along the A31 main road at Bloxworth Down in late spring in each year between 2005 and 2008. The species rarely reaches pest status in the county.

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