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70.069 (BF1749)

Dark Spinach   

Pelurga comitata
Adult: 2
Resident, scarce, local. UK BAP Priority Species. Patchily distributed over England, very local in Scotland mainly in the south and Central Belt. Has severely declined in abundance since 1970.


This is quite a scarce species and care is needed to separate it. Dark Spinach is easily told from Spinach and Northern Spinach by the dot in the central cross-band, which the latter two don’t have.

Life cycle

One generation. Overwinters as a pupa underground. Larvae are present September and October.

Larval foodplants

Larvae feed on goosefoots and oraches.


Rough, disturbed ground including the coast.


First recorded for Dumfries and Galloway in VC72 in 1862 near Terregles, Dumfries by Lennon who stated that it was ‘uncommon’, the first for VC74 in 1898 was at Corsemalzie where it was ‘not uncommon in the garden’ but it was not found in VC73 until 1996 at Mersehead by Peter Norman.

69 record(s) from 16 hectad(s) in D&G

VC74 VC73 VC72
Last recorded 2011 2022 2022
70.069 Dark Spinach
70.069 Dark Spinach
70.069 Dark Spinach

 UK Moths website - further information on species (with photos)

 East Scotland Butterfly Conservation website - national distribution maps and phenology

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