Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Local

Local Status: Rare and very local resident.

Local Record: Grade 4   See here for explanation

Flight time: One generation, Feb-Mar.

Forewing: 15-17mm.

Foodplant: Pedunculate Oak and Sessile Oak.

Regional breakdown:

Year first recorded1904188318831883
Year last recorded1991200919041998
Number of records36612
Number of individuals2507
Unique positions3458
Unique locations3457
Adult records25610
Immature records1100

For the county, we have a total of 27 records from 19 sites. First recorded in 1883.


70.246 Small Brindled Beauty 2020 map
© C H Fletcher
70.246 Small Brindled Beauty 01
© Phil Lee

Species Account

Sutton & Beaumont, 1989: This scarce species is only sporadically found as far north as Yorkshire. There is only one confirmed recent record near Elvington (SMJ), and not recorded at Bishop Wood since the late 1960s.

2012 (CHF): This is not a common moth in the north of England and is rarely reported in Yorkshire. Most recent records come from oak-rich woodland in the centre of the county. It might not be quite as scarce as these few records suggest as it flies very early in the year.

2020 (CHF): A map with no red 2020 dots on it for a change.

Does Small Brindled Beauty still occur in Yorkshire? It is getting towards the right time of year to look for it. In Porritt’s day it was “tolerably common”. He found it on “the boles of oaks etc early in March” and listed localities all over the county. Records have been thin on the ground since then and Sutton and Beaumont listed very few recent records in 1989. Since then, records have come from Bubwith in 1991, Grosmont in 1992 and 1993, Low Bentham in 1998 and near Hawnby in 2009. There are known populations in north Lancashire and in Lincolnshire. On the map, records after 1950 are in black. The Atlas says that it has declined substantially in both distribution and numbers since 1970 across the country. This is a moth of mature oak woodland. It tends not to wander and it not a common visitor to gardens. It therefore has to be looked for. It flies from mid-February to mid-March at a time when few moth trappers venture out of their gardens. The flightless females can be found by searching near the base of oak trunks after dawn and are reasonably distinctive, though we would need to see a good clear photograph. The males come readily to light. This species is still highly likely to occur in the county. Some of the remoter unexplored oak woods of VC62 might be worth a look. It also could easily still occur at sites like Strensall Common, Skipwith Common and Askham Bog in the centre of the county. We’ve just got to look for it.

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