The Moths of Suffolk
2277 Scarce Merveille du Jour, Moma alpium, (Osbeck, 1778)

National Status : RDB

Local Status : Probably locally extinct (SMP Status 4)

Habitats : Oak woodland and scrub, more prevalent in large woods with mature oaks

Flight Period : Single-brooded; early June to mid-July

Larval foodplants : Pedunculate Oak, probably Sessile Oak

Records : No recent records

Comments : Surveys have been carried out for this species at various large oak woods in the county in recent years. No positive results to date.

Morley's Final Catalogue : Ranges through our southern counties only as far as EAnglia, and is nowhere commoner than in Suffolk, though even here distinctly local. Examples have occurred near Ipswich during the past year (Stephens 1829, p. 47). " In 1853 I took about one hundred and twenty of this moth at sugar in a wood near Ipswich, and noticed always that they rarely came until between ten and twelve o'clock, and that they were more abundant when the nights were dark and windy: once I got twenty-seven and once twenty-five, but on unfavourable nights not one. They never fed for any length of time, were very shy, and were easily disturbed by the light of my lantern " (dealer George King of Ipswich, The Substitute or Entom. Exch. 1857, p. 220). This statement, apparently honest and straightforward, was generally discredited upon publication (cf. Zool. 1857; Nat. 1858, p. 61, 205 et passim post). To us it seems quite likely that King did discover a spot where the moth was merely in greater plenty than anywhere else: parallel cases are quotable.

Not found about Playford by Greene; but Dr. Bree, at that time, had no doubt it was a Suffolk species because (only) Crewe had taken the larva ['two full-fed larvae, 25 August 1856, in a wood near Ipswich' (Crewe)] and his brother, he believed, another at Woolverstone (lib. cit. 206). By 1890 Harwood and Miller had found the species at Bentley; Lingwood at Needham; and Crewe's locality is entered as Ipswich (Bloomfield). All later records are from the Bentley Woods: in May 1893 (Baylis), 1894 (Ml), 1895 (Frost), annually on trunks as well as sugar during 16 June 1894 to 9 June 1998 (Hkg), 1899 (Platten) on sugar in early June 1931 (Trans. i, 234) and at sugar in 1937 (Btn).

Wingspan details : Forewing 17-20mm, Wingspan 32-40mm


Confusion species
    AdultMerveille du Jour, Dichonia aprilina

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Kent (vi.2004) © M Deans

Flight chart

Life history chart
pupa pupa pupa pupa pupa imago ovalarvaimago larva larvapupa pupa pupa pupa

Further Photographs

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Kent (vi.2005) © S Read
Kent (vi.2005) © S Read
France ( © Lee Gregory
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Las Descargues, France (vi.2005) © Neil Sherman