Pale shining brown moth (Polia bombycina)

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Pale Shining Brown
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Pale shining brown moth fact file

Pale shining brown moth description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderLepidoptera
FamilyNoctuidae
GenusPolia (1)

Adults are pale reddish-brown in colour with slightly paler hindwings and a shiny appearance, hence the common name (3). The caterpillar has a pale brown back, becoming greener towards the underside (3).

Size
Wingspan: 4.7- 5.2 cm (1)
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Pale shining brown moth biology

The Pale Shining Brown is a single-brooded species, the adults of which are on the wing from mid-June to mid-July. The precise details of the life history of this moth have yet to be elucidated in the wild, however the caterpillars will feed on dock, dandelion and other herbaceous plants in captivity (1). It is likely that the overwintering stage is the caterpillar (1).

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Pale shining brown moth range

The Pale Shining Brown moth was once widespread in England south of the Severn and the Humber, however it has been recorded from just 20 sites since 1980 (2) and is now recorded with any regularity from just two or three localities (4). A greyish form occurs occasionally as a migrant into south-east England (5). It is known from most other European countries (2).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
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Pale shining brown moth habitat

This species is predominantly found on scrubby grassland sites, typically with calcareous soil (2).

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Pale shining brown moth status

Classified as Local in Great Britain (2).

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Pale shining brown moth threats

The reasons for the decline of the species have not yet been identified (2).

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Pale shining brown moth conservation

The Species Action Plan for the Pale Shining Brown moth, produced as part of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) aims to maintain the current known populations and enhance these by 2010. Suggested action includes increasing the amount of suitable habitat available at occupied sites and linking fragmented sites. Survey work and research into the causes of the decline and habitat needs of the species have also been proposed (2).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
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Find out more

Further reading on moths:
Leverton, R. (2001) Enjoying Moths. Poyser, London.
Skinner, B. (1984) Moths of the British Isles. Penguin Books, Harmondsworth

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Authentication

Information authenticated by Sean Clancy.

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Glossary

Calcareous
Containing free calcium carbonate, chalky.
Single-brooded
(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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References

  1. Skinner, B. (1984) Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles. Viking Press, London.
  2. UK BAP Species Action Plan (December 2001). http://www.ukbap.org.uk
  3. South, R. (1961) The moths of the British Isles. Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd., London.
  4. Clancy, S (2003). Pers. comm.
  5. Atropos7: 30, Plate 1.
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Image credit

Pale Shining Brown  
Pale Shining Brown

© Paul Waring

Paul Waring
Windmill View
1366 Lincoln Road
Werrington
Peterborough
PE4 6LS
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1733 571 917
paul_waring@btinternet.com

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