Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Common

Local Status: Scarce and restricted resident.

Local Record: Grade 1   See here for explanation

Flight time: One generation, Apr-May.

Forewing: M 27-32mm. F 35-41mm.

Foodplant: Woody plants. Heathers, Bramble, Hawthorns etc.

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 recorded188619831886
Year last recorded201120082011
Number of records8343252
Number of individuals10361328
Unique positions4514118
Unique locations381198
Adult records7637226
Immature records6624

For the region, we have a total of 252 records from 98 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1886.


1643 Emperor Moth 04 larva
© Jenny Seawright
1643 Emperor Moth 03
© D Cooper, 29 Apr 2010
1643 Emperor Moth 02 female
© Tom Morris
1643 Emperor Moth 01 male
© Tom Morris

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: The species is widespread in open habitats, the larva feeding on heather (Calluna spp.), sallow (Salix spp.), bramble (Rubus fruticosus), hawthorn (Crataegus spp.) and blackthorn (Prunus spinosa). In Dorset, the moth is local and at low density, and has been recorded from many of the heathland blocks in the county. The larva has been found chiefly on ling (Calluna vulgaris) and bell heather (Erica cinerea), and, despite its size and exotic appearance, blends in well with its host foodplant. The male behaves in the same manner as the Fox1638 and Oak Eggar1637 males, flying during the day in pursuit of the female pheromone. Assembling active males in spring is often productive; a freshly emerged captive female in a garage on a housing estate in Ferndown attracted several males to the cage within twenty minutes in 2003 (R Cook). The following records refer to individuals encountered some distance away from heathland habitat: Dorchester, female at MV light on 25 April 1967 (AT), Gaunts Common, female at MV light on 21 May 1985 (Miss M Brooks), Purewell Meadows, three larvae on bramble 14 June 2002 (R Cook, P Davey).

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