Belted beauty moth survey, Lancashire (2012)

Last Sunday I went out with members of Lancashire Moth Group and Butterfly Conservation Lancashire to hunt for the belted beauty moth.  This rare species is only found at three sites in the UK south of the Scottish border, one of which is on the Lancashire coast.

Happily, our search was successful and we found 162 adults amongst clumps of rushes on the saltmarsh.

Here’s a male:

And here’s a female; they are wingless and climb up stems where they waft pheromones in the hope of attracting a passing male.  This seems to work quite well, as several males were seen lined up and crawling towards hidden females during the survey !

My phone camera isn’t very good at close-ups, as you can see from the above, but there are some nice pictures on the UK Moths website.

I’ll be looking out for this species next time I’m on the north Wales coast, as it used to occur in sand dunes near Prestatyn.

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