Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Common

Local Status: Common and widespread resident.

Local Record: Grade 1   See here for explanation

Flight time: One generation, May-Aug.

Forewing: 17-23mm.

Foodplant: Common Ragwort.

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 recorded1955200819831955
Year last recorded2011200820112011
Number of records133411602990
Number of individuals415215619428
Unique positions348113724
Unique locations248111520
Adult records118101572676
Immature records451194

For the region, we have a total of 2990 records from 520 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1955.


2069 Cinnabar 06
© Julian Francis
2069 Cinnabar 05
© Julian Francis
2069 Cinnabar 04 pupa
© Jack Oughton
2069 Cinnabar 03 larva
© Jack Oughton
2069 Cinnabar 02
© Jack Oughton
2069 Cinnabar 01
© Tom Morris

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A widespread species as far north as southern Scotland, the larva feeding on ragwort (Senecio spp.). In Dorset, the moth is common to abundant wherever ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) is found in quantity; this tends to be among dry, chalky and neutral overgrazed grassland, and on roadside verges. An unusual variety was found on Portland by Reverend G Ford where the usual scarlet ground colour was replaced by yellow, ab. flavescens (Ent Rec 67:108). The moth's ability to establish large populations that defoliate ragwort plants plus the fact that the caterpillar is distasteful to birds due to the ingestion and retention of harmful alkaloids, has lead to its adoption and release in North America and Australia as part of initiatives to control the highly toxic plant.

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