Pyraustas etc

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Pyraustas etc - Pyraustinae

1. Pyrausta aurata, Pyrausta purpuralis, Pyrausta despicata Note: Wing markings in these 3 species vary greatly, but the differences given apply in nearly all cases.


Pyrausta aurata

Pyrausta purpuralis

The purple scales on P.aurata and P.purpuralis easily wear off so the moth then appears brown in colour. It then looks similar to dark forms of P.despicata.

Pyrausta despicata (dark and light forms)

Pale cream or yellow markings are indistinct and not clearly edged

Pyrausta aurata (worn specimen)

Forewing blotchy

Orange marks mainly near the leading edge of the forewing

More orange marks - including distinctive ‘seagull-shaped’ mark near trailing edge of the forewing

Check also Pyrausta ostrinalis which is similar to P. Purpuralis but is much less common.

2. Mother of Pearl, European Corn-borer, Rusty-dot Pearl


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Mother of Pearl - Pleuroptya ruralis


European Corn-borer - Ostrinia nubilalis                   Rusty-dot Pearl - Udea ferrugalis

These are both immigrants but in some years they are numerous.




Tends to settle with wings making quite a narrow triangle

Black or grey markings including two large dots near the leading edge of the forewing

Tends to settle with wings making a wider triangle than Rusty-dot Pearl

Dark dot in a light-coloured rectangle near the leading edge of the wing

Markings on worn forewing pale but clearly edged.

Mark near leading edge of P.aurata and P.purpuralis roughly circular


Zig-zag main cross-line rising gradually near the trailing edge of the forewing in both species

Colour of Rusty-dot Pearl is consistent - dark grey markings on a rusty background. Colour of European Corn-borer is much more variable.

There are other species of Crambidae with similar colour and markings but most are less common and most have a more sudden hump in the main zig-zag crossline on the forewing than Rusty-dot Pearl and European Corn-borer - as in Mother of Pearl (below).

Sudden rise in main cross-line

The wings of Mother of Pearl have a sheen, which is shown up by cross-lighting and which gives it its name.

Mother of Pearl usually rests with wings spread out.


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