Dark bordered beauty moth (Epione vespertaria)

Male Dark Bordered Beauty
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Dark bordered beauty moth fact file

Dark bordered beauty moth description

GenusEpione (1)

The Dark Bordered Beauty moth, Epione vespertaria (Formerly known as Epione paralellaria) is similar in appearance to the more common Bordered Beauty moth (Epione repandaria), but the purplish border on the forewing is of even width; in the Bordered Beauty, the outer border tapers sharply towards the tip of the wing. The sexes are different in appearance; males are darker and more orange in colour than the pale yellow female (3). The caterpillar is greyish brown with a whitish, violet-tinged underside (3).

Epione paralellaria.
Wingspan: 26- 29 mm (1)

Dark bordered beauty moth biology

Adults of this single brooded species are active in late July and August. Males fly after sunrise for around an hour and again after dusk when they are occasionally attracted to light (1). Females are not often seen. Caterpillars are active between May and early July (1) and feed on creeping willow (Salix repens) in England and short re-growth aspen in Scotland (2). The overwintering stage is the egg (1).


Dark bordered beauty moth range

This species is known from most European countries, but just four small isolated populations are currently known in the UK; these are in north-east Yorkshire, Northumberland, near Balmoral in Aberdeenshire, and Strathspey. A new subcolony was discovered in Deeside in July 2001 (4). Due to a lack of recent records, the status of an historic population in Roxburghshire is unclear (2).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.

Dark bordered beauty moth habitat

Inhabits wet heathland sites and damp aspen woodland (Populus tremula) (5), (4).


Dark bordered beauty moth status

Classified as Rare in Great Britain (2).


Dark bordered beauty moth threats

This species has always been very local in Britain. Its isolated colonies are vulnerable to natural habitat succession, or inappropriate management such as too much or too little grazing (2).


Dark bordered beauty moth conservation

The Dark Bordered Beauty moth is a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP); the aims of the Species Action Plan include the maintenance and enhancement of all known sites and the restoration of the species to 10 sites within the former range by 2010, possibly using reintroductions (2). The two populations in England occur within existing Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), and one is a National Nature Reserve (NNR).

There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.

Find out more

Further reading on moths:
Skinner, B. (1984) Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles. Viking Press, London.
Leverton, R. (2001) Enjoying Moths. Poyser, London.



Information authenticated by Roy Leverton.



(Also known as 'univoltine'). Insect life cycle that takes 12 months to be complete, and involves a single generation. The egg, larva, pupa or adult over winters as a dormant stage.


  1. Skinner, B. (1984) Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles. Viking Press, London.
  2. UK BAP Species Action Plan (December 2001): http://www.ukbap.org.uk/
  3. South, R. (1961) The moths of the British Isles. Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd., London.
  4. Waring, P. (2001) Wildlife Reports. British Wildlife13: 129.
  5. UK Moths (December 2001): http://www.ukmoths.force9.co.uk/

Image credit

Male Dark Bordered Beauty  
Male Dark Bordered Beauty

© Roy Leverton

Roy Leverton
AB45 2HS
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1466 751 252


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