Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Common

Local Status: Fairly common and thinly distributed and restricted resident.

Local Record: Grade 2   See here for explanation

Flight time: Two generations, Apr-Jun, Jul-Aug and possibly third in Sep.

Forewing: 13-15mm.

Foodplant: Campions, Nottingham Catchfly and Rock Sea-spurrey.

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 recorded20112011
Number of records8111622
Number of individuals13612722
Unique positions73146
Unique locations61122
Adult records7991598
Immature records12

For the region, we have a total of 1622 records from 122 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1905.


2167 Tawny Shears 02
© Mike Hetherington
2167 Tawny Shears 01
© Jack Oughton

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A coastal and chalky soil species in England and Wales, the larva feeding on the ripening seeds of various white campions (Silene spp.). In Dorset, the moth is at low density on the coast where it is associated with sea campion (Silene uniflora) and nottingham catchfly (Silene nutans). The Tawny Shears has undergone a dramatic decline inland due to the loss of unimproved grassland on chalky soils due to the changes in farming methods. All inland records are included below, but very few are recent. Three broods are suggested from the records, the first from mid-April to early June, the second from early July to early August, and a partial third brood from late August to mid-September, the latest recorded date being 31 October; the national norm is for a single generation with a partial second brood in southern England. An extreme white ab pallida was trapped at light at Scar Bank on 28 May 1948 (A Russell). The moth shares the same habitat as the Netted Pug1823 and Marbled Coronet2171, and the recommendations proposed under those species wherever implemented, should benefit this moth too: Chamberlaynes, in 1929 (H Andrewes), Milton Abbas, (O Leigh Wood), Iwerne Minster, two at MV on 2 June 1955, 3 June 1956, 23 June 1956, 12 July 1962 (H Moore), Blandford, larvae plentiful and on Badbury Rings (S Scarsdale Brown), Gussage St Michael, (Reverend J Ward), Cranborne, common (F Fisher), Puddletown, two at MV on 18, 21 and 22 August 2001, 13 May 2002 (H Wood Homer), Woolland, at MV on 17 May 1997, 5 June 1998 (P Benham), Wool, at MV on 6 June 2004 (D Cooper), Child Okeford, at MV on 8 July 1997 (S Barrett), Fontmell Down, four at MV on 16 July 2004 (P Davey), Furzebrook, at MV on 6 June 1976 (Professor N Webb).

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