Friday, 15 April 2016

Early Pugs

The last two nights have seen me make first visits to two more regular trapping locations for this year, on Wednesday night at a private wetland site close to home and last night to similar habitat at BBOWT's College Lake reserve.  Little was expected at either venue and I managed a similar total (16 species) at each of them, with nothing seen that was particularly surprising.  However, Wednesday night produced my first Oak-tree Pug of the year while last night a V-Pug was seen.

Oak-tree Pug, 13th April

V-Pug, 14th April

Both were perhaps a little early but not remarkably so (for example, in 2012 and 2014 there were V-Pug records in Bucks during the final week of March).  Of rather more interest was a Pug which was found resting on the outside of the garden trap here at Westcott this morning and which turned out to be a rather dark White-spotted Pug.  There is only one earlier record on the Bucks database (4th April 1999) and all other April sightings have been during the final week of the month.

White-spotted Pug, 14th April

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks



  1. I had a V-Pug on the 13th, along with a Brindled Pug. Both new for the year, V-Pug was 3weeks earlier than I've had before.

  2. It is perhaps worth mentioning here that twice now I've had out-of-season Oak-tree Pug during the summer, both of them confirmed by dissection. The first was on 2nd August 2011 (Rammamere Heath, Bucks) and the second was on 1st July 2015 (Stoke Common, Bucks). Probably just co-incidence that the sites happen to be similar heathland habitat. The books make no mention of a second brood but it looks as though it may happen occasionally. One to keep an eye out for...

  3. Another pug that can be readily found at this time of year is the Slender Pug...although as a larva. Collect the fallen sallow catkins on which it feeds, keep an eye on them over the next few days, and the larvae will readily be found. They pupate around the catkins and should emerge in a couple of months' time or so. It is an easy way of adding the species to a site list, or recording it from places such as road verges that it is not possible to trap (or, indeed, under-recorded 10 km squares). The pugs share the catkins with various Noctuidae - most commonly here in Somerset the Brick, but also Sallow and Pink-barred Sallow. These can be reared through as well but need soil to pupate in. They ought to be separated from the pugs; I have read variously that the pugs eat the noctuids and that the noctuids eat the pugs. I am unsure of the truth of the matter but it is best not to take any chances!


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