Noctuidae : Xyleninae
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Dark Chestnut
Conistra ligula

(Esper, 1791) 2259 / 73.195
Photo © Damian Money,  Skelton in Cleveland, VC62

Similar Yorkshire Species
Conistra vaccinii
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Express Record Dark Chestnut

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Yorkshire Status: Fairly common resident.

In 1907 Porritt wrote "widely distributed and in some districts abundant but not nearly so common as C. vaccinii" (ie Chestnut). This is still true today, and it is slightly less than half as common as Chestnut in terms of numbers of records, and counts tend to be a lot smaller, the maximum being 30 at Lund on 8/10/2021. It tends to be a little more local than Chestnut, but unlike that species, is far more likely to be encountered in Autumn. All the big catches are in October. Although it over-winters, it is much less likely to be seen early in the year, and moths from February onwards should be examined critically as it is easy to mistake if for Chestnut. Many of these later flying moths are females, and it is possible that many of the males die after mating. It is difficult to evaluate some of these late flying "Dark Chestnuts" as many are old records, but the latest we can be certain of is a dissected Female from Rossington on 10/4/2020. Like Chestnut, this is a woodland moth, but it also inhabits more open country. It can be quite common in some gardens.

Chestnut and Dark Chestnut can on occasions be tricky to tell apart. Dark Chestnut has a more pointed forewing and a more shiny appearance. Chestnut is usually (but not always!) paler and has a more rounded and rather blunt-tipped wing. Worn moths can at times be very difficult to ascribe to one of the two species and should not be recorded. If however you are faced with a dark, shiny moth with pointed wings, you are safe to call it Dark Chestnut.

Sutton & Beaumont, 1989: Quite widely distributed but only occasionally common and distinctly rare in some areas. This species seems to take the place of C. vaccinii (Linnaeus) in open country.

Recorded in 121 (61%) of 200 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1866.
Last Recorded in 2023.
Additional Stats

< Chestnut  |  Dotted Chestnut >
Forewing: 13-15mm
Flight: October - February
Foodplant:   Blackthorn, Hawthorn, sallows, oaks, and herbaceous plants
Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)
GB Status: Common
Verification Grade:  Adult: 2
List Species Records   [Show All Latest]
Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
28/12/2023261TA07 - Hunmanby
18/12/2023362SE98 - Wykeham
17/12/2023161SE94 - Middleton-on-the-Wolds
17/12/2023261TA07 - Hunmanby
17/12/2023164SE24 - Bramhope / Otley
  Immature   Adult   [Show Flight Weeks]
Show Details | 1990 to 2023 | 2000 to 2023 | Graph Key
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