Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Nationally Scarce B

Local Status: Uncommon and thinly distributed and restricted resident.

Local Record: Grade 2   See here for explanation

Flight time: Mid Jun-Sep.

Forewing: 8-14mm.

Foodplant: Birds-foot Trefoil and clover spp.

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 recorded188519981885
Year last recorded201020052010
Number of records1712346
Number of individuals3112626
Unique positions952194
Unique locations662136
Adult records1502304
Immature records000

For the region, we have a total of 346 records from 136 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1885.


1441 Oncocera semirubella 04
© Will Bown
1441 Oncocera semirubella 03
© Debra Saunders
1441 Oncocera semirubella 02
© Martin Cade, 16 Jul 2008
1441 Oncocera semirubella 01
© Paul Harris

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A local species associated with coastal cliff and chalk downland habitat across southern and south-eastern England, the larva feeding on Fabaceae plants including restharrows (Ononis spp.), medicks (Medicago spp.), clovers (Trifolium spp.) and trefoils (Lotus spp.). In Dorset, this stunning moth is confined for the most part,to unimproved chalky soil grassland along the coastal belt where it is locally frequent, particularly in Fabaceae-rich cliff-top and undercliff habitat. The moth may be breeding on heathland on the Lotus that grows along track edges in the thin soils, judging by the full set of inland records: Povington Heath, six on 27 July 2001 (P Davey), Higher Hyde, 1 September 1995 and 23 July 1997 (Dr P Sterling), 23 July 2002 (P Davey), Trigon, at MV light on 29 July 2001 (C Manley), Norden, two at MV light on 13 August 1998 (P Davey), Holton Heath Marsh, at MV light on 27 July 1997 (R Cook), 7 August 1997 (C Manley), two on 31 July 1999 (P Davey), Arne Wood, at MV light on 2 August 1982, 15 July 1986, 5 August 1986, 28 July 1987, 4 August 1990, 15 August 1991 (B Pickess), Corfe Mullen, at MV light on 12 July 2007 (R Steedman), Holt, 5 August 2007 (P Davey).

The national norm is for a single brood in June and July, but in Dorset, July and August are the main months, with individuals trapped in late June and again in mid-September suggesting an additional partial bivoltine cycle.

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