Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Local

Local Status: Very rare and very local. No recent record.

Local Record: Grade 4   See here for explanation

Flight time: One generation, Jun-Aug.

Forewing: 14-18mm.

Foodplant: Lichens.

Regional breakdown:

Year first recorded1883188318831883
Year last recorded1883190418831883
Number of records1411
Number of individuals0000
Unique positions1411
Unique locations1411
Adult records1411
Immature records0000

For the county, we have a total of 7 records from 7 sites. First recorded in 1883.


70.288 Brussels Lace 2020 map
© C H Fletcher
70.288 Brussels Lace 02
© Terry Box
70.288 Brussels Lace 01
© Jim Morgan

Species Account

Sutton & Beaumont, 1989: Last recorded in the early part of the century by G.B. Walsh in Raincliffe Wood near Scarborough (VC62). This species was scarce, but widespread over much of VC62 in Porritt's day (1883-86, 1904). Other localities included Flamborough (VC61) and Askham Bog (VC64). Like the last species there is also a specimen labelled 'Sheffield' in the Sheldon collection (Garland, 1979).

Current status (CHF, 2011): The last in 1900 - a strong contender for a 'first since Porritt'. Like many lichen-feeding species, this moth is doing well in the south-west and there are small populations not far from our western boundaries.

(CHF, 2020): For a change, here is a map with no recent dots. All the dots are over 100 years old and the locations are a little vague so I’ve represented them on a 10K grid. Brussels Lace was “rather scarce” in Yorkshire in Porritt’s time but he listed it from Askham Bog, Flamborough, Richmond, Scarborough, “between Ayton and Stokesley” and Castle Howard. Sutton and Beaumont say that it was last recorded in the “early 20th century” at Raincliffe Wood near Scarborough. It has never been seen again. It also retreated from much of lowland central England, leaving the core population in south-western counties, most of Wales and good but scattered colonies in various parts of Scotland. A similar decline was seen over much of Europe, blamed on deteriorating air quality.

Several species of moth have invaded Yorkshire from the south-west in recent years, for example Red-necked Footman, Tawny Pinion, Pale Pinion, Beautiful Snout and Devon Carpet. We should be on the lookout for the next one. Brussels Lace, as its scientific name lichenaria suggests is yet another lichen feeder, and as we know, this group of moths is doing well, and they are virtually all increasing their ranges. It will be no surprise to learn that it has been increasing its distribution “significantly since 1980” according to the Atlas, and it is still ongoing. It's on the move, albeit a bit slowly. Since 2000, populations in the south-east of Scotland appear to be moving into the north of Northumberland and Welsh populations into the south of Lancashire. Cumbrian populations are inching towards us and there have even been records in Lincolnshire. This is a moth that could reach us from any direction, and there is a parallel here with Red-necked Footman which probably invaded us from three directions at once. I have a hunch however that our first record will happen in a few years’ time in the south-west of the county.

This is a moth of woodland and scrubby areas with blackthorn and hawthorn, so there is no shortage of habitat in the county. It should be looked for from mid-June to mid-August. Its markings are fairly distinctive and you are unlikely to mistake it for anything else.

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