Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: RDB3

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

Local Record: Grade 4   See here for explanation

Flight time: Two generations, late May-June and late July-August

Forewing: 14-15mm

Foodplant: Purple Toadflax and other Toadflax species

Regional breakdown:

Year first recorded2007
Year last recorded2007
Number of records1
Number of individuals1
Unique positions1
Unique locations1
Adult records1
Immature records0

For the county, we have a total of 1 records from 1 sites. First recorded in 2007.


73.059 Toadflax Brocade 2020 map
© C H Fletcher
73.059 Toadflax Brocade 02
© Barry Spence, 25 Apr 2007
73.059 Toadflax Brocade 01
© John William Cooper

Species Account

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.

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!

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