Adult Black-banded moths have grey forewings with dense yellow, white and greenish flecking and a darker area towards the centre (3). The hindwings are relatively more uniform in colour and are darker in females (4). The caterpillars are generally reddish-brown, with a brown head (5).
A single-brooded moth, adults are on the wing in August and September. The egg over-winters and the caterpillars are present the following year from March to early July, and can be found feeding at night on the leaves and flowers of the foodplant (1).
Precise details of the distribution of this scarce moth are currently unknown, as the species has been under-recorded (2). It is known from the coasts of the Scilly Isles, Devon, Pembrokeshire, Cardiganshire, Cornwall and the Isle of Man. Outside of the UK it has a wide central and southern European range (2).
This species is found on coastal cliffs where the larval foodplant thrift (Armeria maritima) is present (6). A preference is shown for plants that are closer to the sea (2). It does not occur on thrift away from the coast (5).
The Black-banded moth has been targeted by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan as a species for conservation action. The Species Action Plan aims to maintain the current range of this moth in conjunction with a monitoring programme (2). A number of the known populations are found in Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), National Trust owned land or candidate Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) (2).
Further reading on moths:
Leverton, R. (2001) Enjoying moths. Poyser, London.
Skinner, B. (1984) Moths of the British Isles. Penguin Books, Harmondsworth
Young, M. (1997) The natural history of moths. Poyser, London.
Of the stage in an animal's lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
(Also known as 'univoltine'). Insect life cycle that takes 12 months to be complete, and involves a single generation. The egg, larva, pupa or adult over winters as a dormant stage.
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