White spot moth (Hadena albimacula)

loading
White Spot
loading
Loading more images and videos...

White spot moth fact file

White spot moth description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderLepidoptera
FamilyNoctuidae
GenusHadena (1)

This species is easily recognised by the large white spots on the forewings, referred to by both the common and scientific names (albimacula derives from the Latin 'albico'- to be white and 'macula'- spot). The hindwings are brown in colour, becoming darker towards the edge (3).

Size
Wingspan: 30 - 39 mm (1)
Top

White spot moth biology

This species is usually single-brooded; the adults are active between mid-May and July, but there is some evidence of a second brood (4). The caterpillars feed on the seed capsules of the Nottingham catchfly (2) between July and August and the overwintering stage is the pupa (1). The foodplant has sticky stems, hence the common name 'catchfly' (5), and once grew in abundance on the walls of Nottingham Castle and the surrounding castle rock (5). It was first given its present name in 1770 (5), and is currently widespread but local and grows on shingle or rocky cliffs with sparse soil (6).

Top

White spot moth range

Populations of the white spot moth are currently known in Dungeness in Kent, near Gosport in Hampshire, and on the south coast of Devon. Over the last 25 years, the range of the species in Devon has declined to a great extent. Although it could be described as 'abundant' in Dungeness (4), all current populations are vulnerable. The species is known from most European countries (2).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.
Top

White spot moth habitat

Inhabits shingle beaches and calcareous cliffs where the foodplant of the caterpillars, Nottingham catchfly (Silene nutans) is present (2).

Top

White spot moth status

Classified as Vulnerable in Great Britain (2).

Top

White spot moth threats

The white spot moth is limited by the availability of its foodplant, Nottingham catchfly, which is scarce. Recreation by humans, coastal development, coastal defence work and commercial-scale extraction of shingle, gravel and sand have all put this species under pressure (2).

Top

White spot moth conservation

The white spot moth is a UK BAP (Biodiversity Action Plan) priority species. The plan aims to maintain the present populations by considering the species with habitat action plans for coastal vegetated shingle and maritime cliffs and slopes. A regular monitoring programme has been proposed, furthermore Dungeness is a candidate SAC (Special Area of Conservation) (2).

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
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.
Top

Authentication

Information authenticated by David Walker.

Top

Glossary

Calcareous
Containing free calcium carbonate, chalky.
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.
Single-brooded
Also known as ‘univoltine’. Referring to an organism which has just one brood each year.
Top

References

  1. Skinner, B. (1984) Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles. Viking Press, London.
  2. UK BAP (January, 2002)
    http://www.ukbap.org.uk/ukplans.aspx?ID=346
  3. Walker, D. (2002) Pers. comm.
  4. Walker, D. (1998) A species profile- White Spot Hadena albimacula. Atropos, 5: 35 - 36.
  5. Brown, C. (1896) History of Nottinghamshire. Elliot Stock, London. Available at:
    http://www.nottshistory.org.uk/Brown1896/flora2.htm
  6. Natural England – The Plant Press (September, 2008)
    http://www.plantpress.com/wildlife/o708-nottinghamcatchfly.php
X
Close

Image credit

White Spot  
White Spot

© Chris Manley

Chris Manley
Apple Loft
The Row
Trigon
Wareham
Dorset
BH20 7PF
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1929 553 933
chris@manle.freeserve.co.uk

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - White spot moth (Hadena albimacula) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog RSS