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70.239 (BF1919)

Purple Thorn   

Selenia tetralunaria
Adult: 3
Resident, scarce, local - absent from VC74. Well distributed across woods, scrub and gardens in England and Wales, thinly scattered in southern Scotland with more records in the eastern Highlands.


Care required to separate from Lunar Thorn. Rests with wings half open and half-raised where the dark spot should be visible on the upperside of the hindwing. On the forewing the outer most cross-line is more curved and wavy looking than on Lunar Thorn.

Recording method

Comes to light.

Life cycle

Probably two overlapping generations. Overwinters as a pupa, just below the ground surface. Larvae are present June, and again in August and September.

Larval foodplants

Alder, birches, hawthorns, Hazel and oaks to name a few of the broadleaved trees and shrubs it feeds on.


Woodland and gardens.


First recorded in Dumfries and Galloway in 1972 for VC73 in Glen Trool Forest by Plant, and in 1977 for VC72 in the Rothamsted light trap at Waterside Mains, Keir.

50 record(s) from 12 hectad(s) in D&G

VC74 VC73 VC72
Last recorded 2020 2013

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

 East Scotland Butterfly Conservation website - national distribution maps and phenology

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