Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Common

Local Status: Fairly common and thinly distributed resident.

Local Record: Grade 2   See here for explanation

Flight time: Two generations, Apr-May, Jul-Aug.

Forewing: 17-23mm.

Foodplant: Broadleaved trees. Hazel, birches 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 recorded1955200719851955
Year last recorded2011200720092011
Number of records8471481792
Number of individuals17404533594
Unique positions16417344
Unique locations13316280
Adult records7811471658
Immature records0000

For the region, we have a total of 1792 records from 280 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1955.


1919 Purple Thorn 07
© Julian Francis
1919 Purple Thorn 06
© Julian Francis
1919 Purple Thorn 05
© Will Bown
1919 Purple Thorn 04
© Will Bown, March 2017
1919 Purple Thorn 03
© Gillian Nash, April 2014
1919 Purple Thorn 02
© Les Hill
1919 Purple Thorn 01
© Tom Morris

Species Account

Similar species: 1918 1918 Selenia lunularia (Lunar Thorn).

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A frequent species in southern Britain, more local elsewhere, the larva feeding on oak (Quercus spp.), ash (Fraxinus spp.), alder (Alnus spp.), birch (Betula spp.), and a variety of other deciduous tree species. In Dorset, the moth is widespread and at low density, being most frequently encountered in deciduous woods but rare in open, treeless habitat. The peak of the second brood is on average, four times larger than that of the first brood.

See background to species accounts.  Index of Vernacular names - Search - Random Species