Scarce blackneck moth (Lygephila craccae)

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Scarce Blackneck
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Scarce blackneck moth fact file

Scarce blackneck moth description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderLepidoptera
FamilyNoctuidae
GenusLygephila (1)

Adult Scarce Blackneck moths are similar in appearance to the blackneck moth (Lygephila pastinum), but have a deeper black collar behind the head and four dark marks along the front edge of the fore-wings (3). The wings are pale grey to brown (3). The slender caterpillar reaches 3.6 cm in length, and is pale brown in colour with a darker mottled stripe along the back (4).

Size
Wingspan: 4.0- 4.6 cm (1)
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Scarce blackneck moth biology

Eggs are laid singly on the leaves of the foodplant in summer, where they overwinter and hatch the following spring. The caterpillars feed at night until June and pupate on the soil surface; the pupa is covered by a silk cocoon(4). The adults emerge in July and August (4) and fly at dusk (3).

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Scarce blackneck moth range

In the UK, this species is currently restricted to 6-7 isolated coastal sites in north Cornwall, north Devon and Somerset (5). These populations are vulnerable to local extinction (2). Elsewhere, the species has a wide distribution in Europe from Scandinavia to Crete in the south (2).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
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Scarce blackneck moth habitat

Inhabits coastal cliffs and rocky areas (1) where occasional slippages occur (2). The disturbance caused by these slippages results in good habitat for the caterpillars' foodplant, Wood vetch Vicia sylvatica (2).

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Scarce blackneck moth status

Classified as Rare in Great Britain (2).

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Scarce blackneck moth threats

The main threats to this species are the stabilisation of the coastal cliffs on which it lives and collection of caterpillars at well-known sites (2). The growth of rank vegetation due to natural succession can cause the loss of populations of the Scarce Blackneck, as can severe landslips (2).

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Scarce blackneck moth conservation

The Species Action Plan for the Scarce Blackneck produced under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) aims to maintain the current known populations (2). This species is the subject of a regular monitoring scheme on one of the sites, which is a Devon Wildlife Trust reserve (2).

There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
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 Adrian Spalding.

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Glossary

Cocoon
A sheath of silk, which is spun around the pupae of some insects (a pupa is a stage in an insect's development, when huge changes occur that reorganise the larval form into the adult form. In butterflies the pupa is also called a chrysalis).
Natural succession
The progressive sequence of changes in vegetation types and animal life within a community that, if allowed to continue, result in the formation of a 'climax community' (the last stage in a succession where the vegetation reaches equilibrium with the environment).
Pupa
Stage in an insect's development when huge changes occur, which reorganise the larval form into the adult form. In butterflies the pupa is also called a chrysalis.
Pupate
The process of forming a pupa, the stage in an insect's development, when huge changes occur that reorganise the larval form into the adult form. In butterflies the pupa is also called a chrysalis.
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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. Porter, J. (1997) The Colour Identification Guide to Caterpillars of the British Isles. Viking, London.
  5. Spalding, A. (2003) Species Profile. The Scarce Blackneck. Atropos19.
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Image credit

Scarce Blackneck  
Scarce Blackneck

© David Green / British Butterfly Conservation Society Ltd

Butterfly Conservation
Manor Yard
East Lulworth
Wareham
Dorset
BH20 5QP
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1929 400 209
info@butterfly-conservation.org
http://www.butterfly-conservation.org/

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