Last night we went to an illustrated talk on Rare Moths of Kent by Tony Davis who works for the Butterfly Conservancy charity.
He took us through 51 different moths, some of which are thought to now be extinct in Kent but others that are just about hanging on by their finger tips. What seemed to be a recurring feature though is that, in the world of moths, there is often a sparsity of information leading to a potential for great surprises. They are generally difficult to survey, especially if they don’t come to light and so aren’t caught in traps, and it seems to be often a question of grubbing about in the undergrowth looking for caterpillars, or excavating a leaf mine and taking the resulting larva back home to see what hatches out. I was really surprised at how little seems to be known about some of these species.
All 51 moths are on the Biodiversity Action Plan as species that need conservation and greater protection.
Two moths in particular caught our attention because, whilst very scarce, are known to have colonies on the shingle beach below our meadows and so potentially may turn up in our moth trap this year, you never know.
The Sussex Emerald moth has a colony at Dungeness and one on Kingsdown Beach below the meadows and nowhere else in the UK.
The Bright Wave is found on the stretch of coast from Ramsgate down to Kingsdown only:
We heard last night about Moth Twitchers who are prepared to travel the length of the country to tick moths off. I will certainly never be a twitcher but I am very much enjoying discovering more about a vast group of animals that I previously knew absolutely nothing about.