The caterpillars of this delicately patterned moth depend on Barberry plants for their survival. Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) is not generally thought to be native to Britain but it was once planted widely as a hedgerow shrub as it grows densely and has sharp spines. However, in the 19th century it was discovered that the plant is a host for a fungus that causes stem rust, which damages wheat crops. As a result, Barberry was removed in many areas and the moth population declined.

Wheat that is grown in Britain is now resistant to stem rust, and efforts are being made to increase suitable habitat for the Barberry Carpet by planting Barberry and linking up existing colonies. Find out more on the ‘Back from the Brink’ website, including how you can get involved.

Eggs are laid on Barberry leaves in May/June and August and the larvae occur from early June to mid July and late August to September. They usually pupate by mid September and spend autumn and winter in a cocoon just below the surface of the soil.

Flight Times

There are two generations of adults: from early May to mid June and then from late July to August

Size and Family

  • Family – Carpets, pugs and allies (Larentiinae)

  • Medium sized

  • Wingspan Range – 27-32mm

Conservation Status

  • Priority species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan

  • Red Data Book species (protected)

  • It is illegal to collect or disturb this species in any of its stages.

Caterpillar Food Plants

Larvae feed on Wild Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) and sometimes other Barberry species

Habitat

It is mainly found in open hedgerows and sunny woodland edges

Distribution

  • Countries – England

  • The Barberry Carpet has declined in Britain and now has a very local distribution with just a few populations in Wiltshire and Dorset, and occasional single records elsewhere around the south of England.

Barberry Carpet - James Lowen

Barberry Carpet

Barberry Carpet - James Lowen

Barberry Carpet

Barberry Carpet - James Lowen

Barberry Carpet

Barberry Carpet - James Lowen

Barberry Carpet

Barberry Carpet - James Lowen

Barberry Carpet

Barberry Carpet - James Lowen

Barberry Carpet

Barberry Carpet - James Lowen

Barberry Carpet

Barberry Carpet - James Lowen

Barberry Carpet

Barberry Carpet (caterpillar) - Wayne Clinch

Barberry Carpet (caterpillar)

Barberry Carpet (caterpillar) - Wayne Clinch

Barberry Carpet (caterpillar)

Barberry - James Lowen

Barberry

Barberry plant - Stuart Read

Barberry plant