Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Nb

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

Local Record: Grade 4   See here for explanation

Flight time: -

Forewing: -

Foodplant: -

Regional breakdown:

Year first recorded2010
Year last recorded2010
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 2010.


73.300 L-album Wainscot 2020 map
© C H Fletcher
73.300 L-album Wainscot 02
© Barry Spence, 5 Oct 2010
73.300 L-album Wainscot 01
© Dave Shenton

Species Account

Current status (CHF, 2011): NEW COUNTY RECORD - Spurn 5.10.2010. The breeding population of this species is doing well along the south coast and continues to expand. This moth was probably an immigrant, but we are likely to see more in the next few years.

2020 (CHF): L-album Wainscot doesn’t have a very exciting map I’m afraid but it’s a case of “watch this space”. It is yet another recent colonist. The first records of migrant moths were in 1901 and breeding was first proved in Devon and Cornwall in the 1930s. From there it spread along the south coast. The pace of expansion started to accelerate in about 1990 and it is now resident in all southern coastal counties, Essex, Suffolk and south Wales. Records elsewhere are assumed to be migrants, and this was the case for our first record in 2010. The exciting news is that we had two further records at Spurn in 2020 on 22nd and 29th September. This is a bivoltine species so these are second brood moths which presumably hatched further south.

It is highly likely that at some stage in the next few years, this species will colonise the county, almost certainly starting at Spurn. Who knows, it could be sooner than we think. The Field Guide is quite dogmatic about where we will find it. “Rough grassland by the sea” is the only habitat. The larval foodplant is “marram grass” but “tall fescue has also been suggested” – a far more widespread grass of course. It seems therefore that we’re not going to find it inland. But wait, is it a simple as that? Looking at the Atlas, there are recent records inland further south. OK some might be migrants, but there is a cluster in Northamptonshire which look like residents, not to mention a lot of dots in the London area and inland Hampshire. Noctuidae Europaeae says for food plants “the larvae feed on various soft, broad-bladed grasses eg Poa, Festuca, Dactylis etc.”. No mention of sticking to marram grass, in fact no mention of it at all. The distribution map shows it widespread over all European countries except for Scandinavia, with no bias for coastal sites. My French book which charmingly calls it “Le Crochet Blanc” (the white hook as opposed to our “white L”) says the same.

This is a moth about which we will hear more. Expect a march north and spread inland. You shouldn’t have any difficulty identifying it - it’s a Shoulder-striped Wainscot with attitude. By 2030 just perhaps you’ll have it in your garden!

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