Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Common

Local Status: Uncommon and fairly widespread resident.

Local Record: Grade 1   See here for explanation

Flight time: One generation, Jun-Aug.

Forewing: M 23-29mm., F 30-39mm.

Foodplant: Many woody plants and deciduous trees.

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 recorded194819831948
Year last recorded201120072011
Number of records26026572
Number of individuals36034788
Unique positions1077228
Unique locations926196
Adult records24826548
Immature records102

For the region, we have a total of 572 records from 196 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1948.


Leopard Moth 4
© Julian Francis
0161 Leopard Moth 03
© Will Bown
0161 Leopard Moth 02
© Dave Foot
0161 Leopard Moth 01
© Tom Morris

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A species that is restricted to England, the larva feeding for two or three years in a stem or branch (often no more than ten cm. in diameter) of a wide range of deciduous trees and shrubs. The caterpillar exudes an odour, a polyphenol called zeuzerine (C14H26O2), and this may be used by the insect as a defence mechanism against potential prey (MOGBI Vol 2). Damage to commercially grown crops is limited as larvae rarely 'infest' the host plant. In Dorset, the moth is locally frequent in woodland and gardens, but not to such an extent that it constitutes a pest. The male is readily attracted to light, but rarely more than a single moth is observed on any given night during its flight period. Larvae have been detected within sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), apple (Malus domestica) and oak (Quercus spp.) across the county.

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