Pempelia palumbella
Pempelia palumbella
Adult • Aish Tor, Newbridge, Dartmoor, Devon. August 2003 • © John Walters

62.023 BF1442

Pempelia palumbella

([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)

Wingspan 21-27 mm.

A mainly heathland species, distributed throughout Britain northwards to southern Scotland.

It is a quite distinctive moth with its combination of red and white, and a conspicuous blackish scale tuft close to the head.

The adults fly during July and August, and the larvae feed on low plants such as heather (Calluna).

The English literature suggests that it also feeds on milkwort (Polygala). This is probably wrong, but the species has been reared from Calluna vulgaris and Erica cinerea (R.J. Heckford).

In Spain, where the species is fairly common, the commonest foodplants are rock-roses and allies (Cistus and Halimium spp.), which are favourites among gardeners in Britain. This may have some bearing on some of the distribution. (Jorge Garz?n).
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