Noctuidae : Oncocnemidinae
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Toadflax Brocade
Calophasia lunula

(Hufnagel, 1766) 2223 / 73.059
Photo © Craig Barber,  South elmsall 28/07/2023

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Similar Yorkshire Species: None
Express Record Toadflax Brocade

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Yorkshire Status: Very rare and very local migrant/wanderer.

Argus 54, 2007: Originally an immigrant, this moth is now resident in the south-east of England and is slowly spreading along the coast with some inland records. There have been records in East Anglia in recent years, and it has now reached Yorkshire.

VC61. Spurn, 25.4.2007 (BRS). NEW COUNTY RECORD.

2012 (CHF): The first county record was taken at light at Spurn on 25.4.2007. This species has been breeding in the south-east since the 1950s and is expanding its range, but this record is still well to the north of any others. We are likely to see more of this moth in future years as the population continues to spread.

Argus 90, 2020: This species has been moving rapidly north and west since the turn of the century. Our first record was at Spurn in 2007 but no more were seen until this year. In 2020, moths turned up at two sites in Doncaster and one at Rothwell in May, and one of the Doncaster sites produced three further records, two from a second brood. This suggests that local breeding occurred. It will be fascinating to chart what happens to this species in the next few years.

VC63. Rothwell, 21.5.2020 (KS); Doncaster, 21.5.2020 (RM); Doncaster, 27.5, 30.6, 5 & 12.8.2020 (NB). NEW VICE-COUNTY RECORD.

2020 (CHF): Toadflax Brocade was first found in the UK in 1939. Breeding was proven on the south coast in 1952. Colonisation was slow but by 2000 it was found widely in the London area and numbers seemed to build up quickly. Over the next few years, it moved quite rapidly north and a wandering individual was seen at Spurn in 2007. The Atlas, looking at data up to the end of 2016, suggested it was resident in Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and south-east Wales.

In 2020 the situation progressed further. On 21st May, single moths were trapped at Doncaster and at Rothwell, south-east of Leeds, suggesting a coordinated arrival. Four days later one was found at a second site in Doncaster, and here there was a further record in June. Two more records from the same site in August must be from a second brood and suggest that there was local breeding. This rapid expansion shows no sign of slowing down and it is highly likely that we will see more records in the coming years. Adult moths are unmistakable and there aren't really any confusion species. The larvae are spectacular and easy to identify, so well worth searching for, especially in the south of the county.

A survey in 1999 found most larvae on purple toadflax, though they have been found on Common Toadflax and in fact on other Toadflax species at times. I don't have any purple toadflax in my garden at the moment. That situation will be rectified this year!

Retained Specimen / Photograph will be Required.

Recorded in 8 (4%) of 200 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 2007.
Last Recorded in 2023.
Additional Stats

< Mullein  |  Anomalous >
Forewing: 14-15mm
Flight: Two overlapping generations May - September
Foodplant:   Purple Toadflax and Common Toadflax
Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)
GB Status: Common
Verification Grade:  Adult: 3
List Species Records   [Show All Latest]
Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
27/09/2023+64SE33 - Leeds
19/08/2023163SE50 - Doncaster
17/08/2023163SE50 - Doncaster
16/08/2023263SE50 - Doncaster
15/08/2023263SE50 - Doncaster
  Immature   Adult   [Show Flight Weeks]
Show Details | 1990 to 2023 | 2000 to 2023 | Graph Key
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