Thursday, 13 August 2015

Stoke Common, Bucks

Another visit to the premier heathland site in Bucks last night, accompanied by Martin Albertini and Andy King, resulted in a reasonable collection of moths appearing in the traps.  Two were particularly noteworthy, both of them regarded as pest species in some quarters.  The first was another example of the large 'Boxworm' pyralid Cydalima perspectalis (the third record for the site since the first in 2010).  This is an adventive species which was first recorded in the UK in 2008 and is thought to have been imported from China through the horticultural trade.  The second was a handsome male Gypsy Moth, a species which became extinct in the UK in the early 1900s but continues to appear regularly as a migrant from Europe and has become re-established in a few localized colonies in southern England.  The moth at Stoke Common was certainly a 'migrant' but how far it had actually travelled is open to conjecture as there are nearby populations in south-west London as well as in Aylesbury.

Cydalima perspectalis, Stoke Common 12th August

Gypsy Moth, Stoke Common 12th August

The most numerous macros of the evening were Narrow-winged Pug, Flame Shoulder and True Lover's Knot, but is was also good to see several examples each of Common Lutestring, Birch Mocha, Chevron, Dotted Clay, White-point, Beautiful Yellow Underwing & Tree-lichen Beauty.  There were fewer micro species around than we might have hoped for but Aristotelia ericinella and Agriphila inquinatella provided the highest counts while Cryptoblabes bistriga & Pempelia genistella also put in several appearances.

Dave Wilton


  1. I've trapped over 30 Cyclamina Perspectalis moths since early July just down the road in Stoke Poges. A significant increase on earlier years since it was first recorded. I wonder if they are coming in through Tendercare and the other exotic plant nurseries in the area? They seem to have played havoc with my Buxus plants.

  2. Looks as though it is around to stay locally then, Stuart. Despite the prospect of damage to box, it is still a handsome beast to see at a light trap. Enormous too, considering it is a micro - it is a bit of a shame that the moth isn't illustrated in the micro field guide considering it had been considered a UK resident for four or five years prior to the book's publication.


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