Freyer's Pug (Eupithecia intricata)
Freyer's Pug is not easily identified at times. It is a variable species with lots of subspecies, many of which have been considered to be real species for a long time. The many crosslines in the front wing are the main characteristic. In older specimens though these are often hardly visible. For identification look at the combination of the following features: a grey or sometimes brownish grey colour, numerous crosslines at the front wing, the spot on the front wings is not round, but rather a very short line and there is a clear spot on the hind wings. The Satyr Pug is very similar, but smaller and lighter in colour. The dot on the front wing of this species is round and there is no spot on the back wing. It flies from dusk onwards, while Freyer's Pug only flies by night. Reaching a wingspan of 21 to 25 mm Freyer's Pug is a large pug. There are many subspecies, considered to be species in the past, such as Eupithecia intricata millieraria or the Edinburgh Pug from Scotland and Northern England, Eupithecia intricata hibernica or the Mere's Pug from Burren, Western Ireland and Eupithecia intricata taylorata or Taylor's Cedar Looper from the USA.
The larva is green. It has two rather weak yellowish green lines on the back and a rather thick, whitish green line on the side. Head and legs are green as well. It is extremely difficult to find on the host plants. It is very similar to the caterpillar of the Juniper Carpet, which eventually is bigger and has the lines on the back much thicker and more contrasting. The larvae of Freyer's Pug overwinter as pupa. It hangs freely in a cocoon in the host plants. This species is usually seen on Junipers, including garden varieties, but it is believed to feed on other conifers and pines as well.
Freyer's Pug is a single brooded species on the wing in May and June mainly. It is quite easy to discover this species as it readily comes to light. A common, often very common species all over the Northern Hemisphere, including Europe and all of Britain.