Noctuidae : Bryophilinae
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Tree-lichen Beauty
Cryphia algae

(Fabricius, 1775) 2292 / 73.082
Photo © Samantha Batty,  28th July, 2022, Austerfield.

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Similar Yorkshire Species: None
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Yorkshire Status: Very scarce and localised migrant.

Formerly Euthales algae.

Argus 84, 2018: The resident population of this species in the south east is slowly expanding north and west so it is not too surprising that it has turned up at Spurn. The main surprise is that there were four separate moths. Larvae, as the name suggests, feed on lichens on trees. It seems to have done well across the country this year and we may well see more of it in future years.

VC61. Spurn, 30.7.2018 (JHF); Easington (Spurn), 3, 6 & 7.8.2018 (MFS). NEW COUNTY RECORD.

Argus 87, 2019: Following its first appearance in the county in 2018, this species had a remarkable year with many more records in the Spurn area, northward spread to Flamborough and westward spread to Swinefleet. The most likely scenario is that this spread will continue over the next few years, though in some species we see a period of consolidation before further expansion.

VC61. Spurn area, 11 records of 12 moths from 23.7 to 20.8.2019 (MFS, JHF); Flamborough, 23.8.2019 (IM, MP, LB).

VC63. Swinefleet, 25.7.2019 (MPi). NEW VICE-COUNTY RECORD.

2020 (CHF): Tree-lichen Beauty has been expanding its range in Europe since the mid-19th century, or possibly even before that as records before 1850 are rudimentary. European literature said in 2009 that it had "now reached Sweden, Finland, Lithuania and southern England" where "the species might now be resident". Indeed it was. Its situation in the UK changed from an extremely rare migrant in the 19th century to a regular migrant on the south coast by the 1990s. By the early 2000s it was breeding in the south-east and rapidly formed healthy populations in Kent, Essex, Surrey and the greater London area. The Atlas, looking at records to the end of 2016, showed records as far as north Norfolk and a line of advance advancing into Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, but still a long way short of Yorkshire.

In 2018, there were four records at Spurn and the following year this had increased to 11 records of 12 moths, with outlying records at Swinefleet (just into VC63), and up the coast at Flamborough. In 2020 we have had 15 records of 16 moths at Spurn and a single moth further north at North Frodingham. This species is evidently here to stay and there is no reason why its rapid increase will not continue. At this rate of increase it is very difficult to put a limit on its spread. This is another species to watch and see what happens. Will it contract back for a while or will it carry on expanding?

As its name helpfully suggests, it feeds on lichens on trees, so this is yet another example of a lichen-feeder doing well. Noctuidae Europaeae is a useful source of information here. It implies the larvae aren't too hard to find (September to June) and occur on "various unidentified lichens growing on the trunks and branches of both forest trees and fruit trees as well as wood lying on the ground, on wooden fences, walls and planks". Even stone walls and concrete fences are said to be used. It suggests that although a wide range of trees are used, fruit trees, especially cherry and plum are favourites, but also apple, pear, poplar and oak. Interestingly they are said to be sometimes found "in numbers" on glue rings used for Winter Moth control. Right, I'm off to get some glue rings for the fruit trees. I don't care about the Winter Moths!

Recorded in 12 (6%) of 200 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 2018.
Last Recorded in 2022.
Additional Stats

< Scarce Bordered Straw  |  Marbled Beauty >
Forewing: 10-13mm
Flight: July - September
Foodplant:   Lichens growing on trees
Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)
GB Status: Not Assessed / Immigrant
Verification Grade:  Adult: 1
List Species Records   [Show All Latest]
Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
22/08/2022161TA31 - Skeffling / Easington
18/08/2022161TA41 - Kilnsea / Spurn Head
17/08/2022161TA31 - Skeffling / Easington
12/08/2022163SE40 - Goldthorpe
12/08/2022161TA02 - Hessle
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