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Clifden Nonpareil
Catocala fraxini (Linnaeus, 1758)
Erebidae: Erebinae
2451 / 72.076
Photo © Charles Sayer,  03/09/2019 - Sparham

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Similar Norfolk Species
Red Underwing
Catocala nupta
Forewing: 41-48mm.
Flight: One generation Aug-Oct.
Foodplant:   Aspen, poplars
Nat Status: Immigrant
Verification Grade:  Adult: 3
Norfolk Status
Rare immigrant.
This is the Victorian collector's classic all-time favourite, often named the 'Blue Underwing'.

Modern-day Norfolk records are of assumed migrants, recorded mainly along the coast usually in late August - September. In 1976 an astonishing seven specimens were recorded in Norfolk.

In 2019, ten confirmed and one unconfirmed were recorded, the most ever on record in a single year.

According to Heath (MBGBI V.10, 1983), in around 1935 C. fraxini is believed to have been resident for some years in north Norfolk, but its occurrence there is not documented. Other publications including Skinner (MBI,1984) mention it as being resident in the Norfolk Broads from the early to mid 1930s. In the New Naturalist edition: The Broads 1965, Ted Ellis notes it as possibly breeding in the district occasionally ( e.g. on poplars near Barton Broad, where the moths appeared annually in fair numbers for several years in succession in the 1930s).
The original source of this information is unfortunately unknown, and we have no C. fraxini records from Barton Broad or the 1930s.
The species is now thought to be breeding once again in Suffolk, and possibly locally breeding again(?) in Norfolk. [JW]

The larvae are nocturnal canopy feeders on mature Populus spp. and Aspen and are seldom seen, being out of reach to recorders.

Records of immaculate specimens seen before the end of August are questionable as this species is often captive bred.

Please note records will not be accepted without confirmation. Photo preferably showing the blue underwing required.

Retained Specimen / Photograph will be Required.

Recorded in 27 (39%) of 69 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1834.
Last Recorded in 2020.

Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
15/09/2020128TF90 - Watton/Shipdham
15/09/2020127TG13 - Baconsthorpe
14/09/2020128TF61 - S.Lynn/Tottenhill
14/09/2020127TG42 - Hickling/Horsey
13/09/2020127TG11 - Drayton/Swannington
Further info: Catocala fraxini
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