Sutton & Beaumont, 1989: This is a relatively new species to the British Isles. Although odd migrants had been taken in earlier years it suddenly appeared in numbers in the late 1940s (Skinner, 1984). Since then it has slowly spread up the country, from the south-east, reaching Lincolnshire in the mid 1970s (Duddington & ]ohnson, 1986). The first Yorkshire specimen was taken in a garden in Whitkirk, Leeds (VC64) on 18.7.1988 by A. Wilkinson. Since its main foodplant is sweet william, a common garden plant, it may continue its northward colonisation of the country and we may find more specimens of this pretty moth in our suburbs.
Beaumont, 2002: VC61. Spurn, 22.7.1991 (BRS). NEW VICE-COUNTY RECORD. VC63. Rossington, 28.6 & 12.7.2000 (RIH); Canklow, Rotherham, two late June 2000 (RFB). NEW VICE-COUNTY RECORD.
Argus 50, 2005: VC62. Haxby, 4.7.2005 (TJC). NEW VICE-COUNTY RECORD.
Current status (CHF, 2011): A steady push north and west. It has not yet reached VC65 but looks set to do so in a few years.
Argus 90, 2020: A very good year with 91 records of 92 moths from 51 sites. This species continues to inch north and west at a slow and steady rate. There were a lot of new sites with records from Luddenden, Keighley, Otley, Knaresborough, Hutton Conyers, Helmsley and Skelton forming a new frontier, and it has finally flown the extra mile to a site in VC65.
VC65. Hutton Conyers, 13.7.2020 (CHF). NEW VICE-COUNTY RECORD.
2020 (CHF): Some moths like Small Ranunculus advance across the county at a great rate without a moment's thought for what lurks round the corner. Others appear to plot their advance carefully, send out a few scouts for a recce, and inch forward gradually. Varied Coronet is most certainly in the latter category. This is another fairly recent colonist to the country, initially as a rare migrant and first recorded breeding in 1948 in Dover. It reached Lincolnshire in the 1970s and was first recorded in Yorkshire at Whitkirk (Leeds) in 1988. This was the only county record when Sutton and Beaumont was written in 1989. Numbers were very low over the next few years but by 2000 it had a foothold in the south of VCs 61, 62, 63 and 64. Since then it has built its numbers up and gradually inched north and west. There has been very little spread into the south-west of England or into Wales. It has instead concentrated on heading north on the east side of the country.
This is an antisocial moth which appears on its own in the moth trap. It seems to have few friends and it rather enjoys social distancing. The most ever caught in the county in one session is three. Numbers have increased considerably in the last two years and in 2020 there were 91 records of 92 moths from 51 sites. The slow march across the county continues and the map shows a lot of new sites at the periphery of its range forming a new frontier; Luddenden, Keighley, Otley. Knaresborough, Hutton Conyers, Helmsley and Skelton are all new sites to where it has advanced before calling a halt and planning next year's campaign. We now have a VC65 record as is has advanced from Sharow, a mile away in VC64, to cross the border to Hutton Conyers. This is despite the lack of Sweet Williams in the garden so it must have been a bit miffed when it arrived. If you haven't recorded this moth, a good gambit is a trip to the garden centre to stock up on its favourite food plant. Take care not to confuse it with the rather similar Marbled Coronet, though this has become a much rarer moth in the county, in fact it is now so unusual that we need to see photographs of any possible Marbled Coronets you might catch.
Recorded in 74 (37%) of 200 10k Squares. First Recorded in 1988. Last Recorded in 2022. Additional Stats