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Map-winged Swift - Hepialus fusconebulosa

Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Insecta - Order: Lepidoptera - Family: Hepialidae

Transparent Burnet Moth, Zygaena purpuralis

Five of the approximately 500 species of the Hepialidae moths (Swift moths) occur in Great Britain and Ireland.

The elongated wings of the Map-winged Swift are positioned vertically along the body during rest, and they fly mainly from dusk to complete darkness in early May to early July.

Their habitat is pasture, heath, moorland and open woodland. They are occasionally found in sand dune systems.

The forewing of the Map-winged Swift ranges between 14 and 26mm.

Below: the orange form of the Map-winged Swift

Map-winged Swift Moth orange form

Distribution

In Britain and Ireland this moth is most common in the north and is almost entirely absent from large parts of southern and eastern England.

Map-winged Swift Moth, UK

Lifecycle

The Map-winged Swift moth is shortlived as its shortened proboscis prevents it from being able to feed. It over-winters twice in its larval form and pupates below ground.

The larval foodplant of the Map-winged Swift is thought to be Bracken roots, but it is also sometimes found on Red Fescue (Festuca rubra), a clump-forming grass species.

Pictures: Rob Petley-Jones

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