Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Local

Local Status: Scarce and local resident.

Local Record: Grade G   See here for explanation

Flight time: One generation, Aug-Sep.

Forewing: 14-17mm.

Foodplant: Purple Moor-grass and Common Cottongrass.

Regional breakdown:

Year first recorded19231983196419602001
Year last recorded20112011201420142014
Number of records68248746
Number of individuals4134513054
Unique positions5614409
Unique locations5611419
Adult records68248446
Immature records00000

For the county, we have a total of 171 records from 72 sites. First recorded in 1923.


73.127 Large Ear 02
© Robert Woods
73.127 Large Ear 01
© Damian Money

Species Account

Sutton & Beaumont, 1989: The four different species of Ear moths found in Britain are virtually impossible to distinguish from one-another without dissection and even then there may be difficulties. A. lucens has been assumed to be the commonest species on heaths and moorland. This may be the case, however since the discovery of A. crinanensis (Burrows) in similar areas of vice-counties 64 and 65 we can no longer be sure of many records and it is felt that to give any records for this species might be misleading. There are a few recent records which are known to be confirmed, including migrant records from VC61, but further work is needed on these species before any safe or useful comments can be made.

2012 (CHF): There are records from all five VCs and this is the commonest of the genus in Yorkshire. Larval foodplants are said to be purple moor-grass and common cottongrass so it should be expected on wet acid moorland. The moth however turns up in a variety of sites and is the most likely Ear to turn up in gardens. The text in both Skinner and Waring implies that moths with strong bands on the underside of forewings and hindwings are likely to be this species, but this is not reliable and should not be used as a basis for firm identification even by experienced observers. There is also considerable overlap in size and it cannot be assumed that large Ears are Large Ears! The genitalia are very similar to Saltern Ear but distinct from the other two species. The situation is compounded in that Saltern Ear has been proved to exist inland and the populations probably hybridise. For a good guide to dissection, look at the excellent publication British and Irish Moths: an illustrated guide to selected difficult species by Townsend, Clifton and Goodey and produced by Butterfly Conservation.

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