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Water Ermine
Spilosoma urticae (Esper, 1789)
Erebidae: Arctiinae
2062 / 72.021
Photo © Neil Sherman,  Great Yarmouth North denes, Norfolk. June 2017

Similar Suffolk Species
White Ermine
Spilosoma lubricipeda
Muslin Moth
Diaphora mendica
Forewing: 18-21mm
Flight: One generation June-July
Foodplant:   Water Dock, Water Mint, other marshland plants.
Nat Status: Nationally Scarce B
Verification Grade:  Adult: 2

Morley's Final Catalogue: Extremely rare, and found only singly. Tuddenham (T. & J. Brown of Cambridge); Beccles (Crf) and Gorleston (Hist. Yarm., probably in error): ante 1890. One in Copdock Rectory avenue, c. 1895 (Hkg). One at Kessingland in June 1890 (Ctw). One found floating on Oulton Dyke about 1920 (D). One female bred 21 May 1927 from Belton larva (Ellis).

Recent status: Scarce, almost exclusively coastal.

Identification: Compare with similar White Ermine, examples of which can show remarkably few black spots on fore-wings. Water Ermine lacks the single black spot on hind-wing of White Ermine. Overall a longer, slimmer moth and cleaner looking than White Ermine.

Habitat: Wet meadows, marshes including and salt-marshes.

Recorded in 22 (38%) of 58 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1890.
Last Recorded in 2020.

Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
07/09/2020125TM46 - Minsmere/Leiston
08/07/2020125TM33 - Bawdsey/Felixstowe
06/07/2020125TM34 - Hollesley/Rendlesham Forest
03/07/2020125TM33 - Bawdsey/Felixstowe
01/07/2020125TM33 - Bawdsey/Felixstowe
Further info: Spilosoma urticae
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