Yorkshire Status: Very rare and very local resident.
Sutton & Beaumont, 1989: There have been two recent records of this moth, the only ones since 1916 (YNU, 1970). Previous to this there were only Porritt's records (1883-86). Scarborough was one of Porritt's locations.
2012 (CHF): No recent records - the last one was at Brimham Rocks in 2000.
2023 (CHF): Lead-coloured Pug is not a common beast. We have only four records in the last 100 years, two from VC62 and then two more recently from Brimham Rocks where its food plant, common cow-wheat, grows amongst heather and bilberry. On the other side of the country, there is a record from Roudsea wood in 2000. Like many Pugs, it is best searched for at dusk around the food plant. Tutt in 1906 stated “sometimes abundant in woodland clearings at dusk”, and our field guide says “occasionally flies briefly in the afternoon with a more pronounced flight just before dusk.” On a visit to Brimham Rocks on 9/6/23 between 8 and 8:45pm I found about 25 flying close to the food plant, often diving into the heather. In fact it was the commonest species on the wing, so it looks as if the literature is correct. It is really tiny little thing, and tricky to get to pose for a photo as it’s rather active. It is the size of Slender or Maple Pug, but doesn’t have the discal spot. The confusion species is meant to be Haworth’s Pug but I found it very similar to Valerian Pug in the way it looks and behaves, though it doesn’t have the faint pale subterminal line and tornal spot that Valerian Pug shows. It isn’t over-endowed with diagnostic markings but it’s a pretty little thing when you look at it closely. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of variation. Common Cow-wheat isn’t particularly rare in the county, particularly in upland/semi-upland areas in the west and in VC62. I suspect the moth is commoner than we think and I bet there are other populations that we haven’t found.
Determination by Genitalia Examination (gen. det.) Required
Recorded in 8 (4%) of 200 10k Squares. First Recorded in 1857. Last Recorded in 2013. Additional Stats