The Moths of Suffolk
2414 Spotted Sulphur, Emmelia trabealis, (Scopoli, 1763)

National Status : Presumed extinct

Distribution and abundance : Breckland

Habitats : Sandy heathland, fallow fields, disturbed ground, banks and verges

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

Larval foodplants : Field Bindweed

Records : Last recorded in Britain at Mildenhall, previously recorded at various Breck sites from 1847 to the early 1950s.

Morley's Final Catalogue : Confined in Britain to EAnglia; its distribution is from central and southern Europe through west-central Asia to Turkestan. With us it indicates the shores of anciently-salt estuaries, of which (1) that of the Orwell provides the records of this species before 1890 at Ipswich and Needham; still surviving at Coddenham (Trans. ii, 291). (2) That of the Deben a specimen taken at Waldringfield in 1879 by our Member, T. Naunton Waller. And (3) those of the old Fen Sea, along (a) the Little Ouse, where E. trabealis was 're-discovered' as British by the great Joe Dunning, when a school-boy, at Brandon in 1845 (he was admitted to the Ent. Soc. when but sixteen and founded the Cambs Ent. Soc. when twenty-four: EMM. xxxiii, 282); it did not occur the two next years (Stainton, 298) till 1858 (Ent. Wk. Int. iv, 110); at Croxton in 1860 and 1864. About fifty were mopped up in 1868 by Wratislaw, who first found it along (b) the Lark River, where Meek took eight in August 1884 and the Bishop found it plentiful at Worlington in 1925. It was locally quite abundant up to at least 1899 (Sparke, Mly) along both valleys, and it still persists locally in satisfactory numbers (Doughty 1924; Trans. 1934, 292-5; Hawley 1937).

Wingspan details : Forewing 10-11mm, Wingspan 20-25mm


Confusion species : None

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Rocamadour, France. (vi.2005) © Neil Sherman

Flight chart

Life history chart
pupa pupa pupa pupa pupa pupaimago ovalarvaimago larva larvapupa pupa pupa pupa

Further Photographs

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France ( © Lee Gregory
France (vi.2003) © N Sherman
Flushed by day from short grass sward containing a lot of Field bindweed - Eko Pasagic, Bulgaria (12.vii.2014) © Neil Sherman