Early Thorn - Selenia dentaria


Wingspan 28-40 mm. The moths in the summer brood are normally paler. Melanic forms occur fairly regularly in parts of northern England. Resting position also distinguishes Early Thorn from all other British Thorns. It holds its wings up over its back and pressed together like a butterfly.

Identification difficulty

Occurring in a wide range of habitats.

When to see it

There are two distinct generations (except in the far north), the first of which flies in April and May. The summer brood, which appears in August and September, usually produces smaller and paler moths.

Life History

The larvae feed on a variety of deciduous trees.

UK Status

Commonly distributed throughout Britain, though less so in Scotland. In a recent survey to determine the status of all macro moths in Britain this species was classified as common.

VC55 Status

Fairly common in Leicestershire and Rutland. L&R Moth Group status = A (common and resident)

70.237 BF1917

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Early Thorn
Species group:
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
18/07/1950 (Wesley, Isaac)
Last record:
13/04/2024 (Poole, Adam)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

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