Status and Distribution
Formerly found at two locations in Norfolk and one in Suffolk. The moth was last known from a site in West Norfolk in 1971. Searches at this last location from the late 1980s onwards, where the foodplant is still present, have failed to relocate the moth and it is now considered extinct in the British Isles. A record from Monk Haven, Pembrokeshire has not been possible to confirm and is thought to have been entered in error but the food-plant does occur in that county.
Bradley & Fletcher no:
Maps updated with all data received by February 2016.
Photographs of a set male and female can be seen on the Natural History Museum, Cockayne collection website:
Foodplant and Larval Feeding Signs
Verbascum pulverulentum (hoary mullein) - see plant distribution map. In Europe reported from Verbascum densiflorum (dense-flowered mullein), V. phlomoides (orange mullein) and V. thapsus (great mullein).
Larva can be present throughout the year, initially gregariously on undeveloped leaves in the centre of the plant. In the spring newly emerged larvae can be found feeding on younger leaves or boring into stalks or stems, while the over-wintered larvae feed under the larger lower leaves in a silken web.
Disturbed ground such as gravel-pits and quarries (the plants original 'natural' habitat is on coastal shingle).
Finding the Moth
Searches of sites where the foodplant still occurs in any abundance would be worthwhile at any time of year for the larvae.
A distinctive pale buff moth with a single prominent black spot on the forewing at two-thirds. Not likely to be confused with any other species.
Possibly double-brooded with adults emerging from late May to September and with peaks in June and September. The September moths are smaller than the June ones. There is insufficient data on adults observed in the wild as most records relate to bred specimens.