Lasiocampidae : Lasiocampinae
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December Moth
Poecilocampa populi
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Small Eggar
Eriogaster lanestris

(Linnaeus, 1758) 1633 / 66.005

General notes:
Extinct in both counties. Last reported in Middlesex in 1912 (Hampstead Heath) and in Hertfordshire in 1971 (Bayfordbury).

Hertfordshire Notes: This appears to have been a widespread and common species across the county at the end of the nineteenth century. For example, Gibbs (1894) records larvae at East Barnet, reported by Mr Pilbrow and notes 'the hedges in many places nearly ruined by them'. There are many other records, though the only other positive references to larvae are from Harpenden Common, where Mr A. Lewis found a larval web on Sloe during June 1892 (Gibbs, 1893) and 'One brood, Cheshunt Wash' (Boyd, 1901). Foster (1937) lists it from Bishops Stortford (Taylor, Mellows), Stevenage (Matthews), St Albans (Jackson), Hitchin, Hexton, Baldock, Royston and Ashwell (Foster) Berkhamsted (Benson), Watton (Bull) and Tring (Ellison, Goodson). The lack of dates is a great pity, because since that 1937 publication there have been only two records - one of a single adult at Walkern in 1940 (J. Birdsall) and another in 1971 at Bayfordbury. The latter is unusual, though correct since it is supported by voucher specimens. Jim Reid found two males attracted to the greenhouse lighting on the rather early dates of 11th and 29th January 1971. His log-book comment for the week before the 29th also says 'very warm and sunny - Brimstone seen near Welwyn'. The Small Eggar clearly started a serious decline in Hertfordshire somewhere between the early 1900s and the 1940s. There were several active lepidopterists in parts of the county during the 1940 to 1970 period, including P. B. M. Allan and others in the Bishops Stortford area, and there can be no doubt that if this species was present it would have been found and reported. It does not appear, however, in Allan's 1950 list of the Lepidoptera of Bishops Stortford, nor does it feature in any other unpublished lists I have seen. On the other hand, rather few people are running light traps in February and March and so it is just possible that this moth still persists in a very few places where mature, un-pruned blackthorn thickets remain.

Middlesex Notes:
Mill Hill in 1891 (in Cockerell, 1898), Kingsbury in 1902 and Hampstead Heath in 1912 are the only county records.

Retained Specimen / Photograph will be Required.

Recorded in 17 (41%) of 41 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1828.
Last Recorded in 1971.
Additional Stats

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List Species Records   [Show All Latest]
Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
1971120TL31 - Hertford
1971+20TL31 - Hertford
1940120TL22 - Stevenage
1937120TL13 - Hitchin (N)
1937120TL10 - St Albans
Show Details | 1990 to 2023 | 2000 to 2023 | Graph Key
Express Record Small Eggar
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VC20 VC21 VC21 VC20
Click Map for Details
Forewing: 15-21mm.
Flight: One generation. Feb-Mar.
Foodplant:   Blackthorn, Hawthorns
Red List: Least Concern (LC)
GB Status: Common
Former Status: Nationally Scarce B
Verification Grade:  Adult: 3
 Immature Adult   [Show Flight Weeks]
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