A quick guide to the new UK phasiines

This year we have been lucky enough to receive records for 2 new species to the UK – Ectophasia crassipennis & Phasia aurigera. These both bear a resemblance to Phasia hemiptera and have been confused with them in the past so I thought I’d put together a few pointers on how to spot them.

  • Phasia hemiptera is very easy to spot in both sexes because they have tufts of ginger hair on the side of the thorax, just behind the head, which are usually very visible and only present in this species. It has a small petiole on the media vein but is it usually visible through the dark blotches. Females usually have clear wings but they can be found in a black-winged form. Male wing colour concentrated at the tip and along the base of the leading edge but it is very variable and completely shaded examples are known.
  • Phasia aurigera is only known from 1 record in Kent and again it will have a petiole on the media vein but they lack any ginger hairs and the male has a lovely rectangular, golden spot in the middle of the thorax. Females are clear-winged, and look very similar to Phasia hemiptera but without the ginger hairs, of course. Male wing colour is dark towards the furthest edge and orange towards the body.
  • Ectophasia crassipennis is known from 4 records (so far) along the south and east coast. They have no petiole on the median vein and both sexes have golden dusting across the width of the thorax, with more coverage on the males. The females have a single dark patch on the wing. Male wing colour is dark around the edges with a small central spot in the middle of the wing.

Abdomen colour in all species is quite variable with more or less orange.