Observations of some of the smaller moths in the Adur area

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Perseus
Posts: 385
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 7:09 pm

Observations of some of the smaller moths in the Adur area

Postby Perseus » Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:13 pm

Hello,

Observations of some of the smaller moths in the Adur district area

There are a few small day-flying moths listed below that are found on chalk downland. All the records are from the lower slopes of Mill Hill as these moths are not common enough elsewhere to be recorded.

1366 Pyrausta nigrata
http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3530

It occurs on chalky downland in the south of England and the limestone pavements of Cumbria and Westmoreland.
Having two generations, the adults are on the wing in June and July and later in September and October.
The larvae feed on wild herbs, particularly thyme (Thymus) and marjoram (Origanum).

ADUR NOTES:

This moth has an earlier brood on Mill Hill and three broods during the year. It can be common (100+ per acre) especially in the first brood, but only on Mill Hill. It has not been recorded in other places, but it may have been overlooked. As Marjoram is not present on the downs above Shoreham, its found plant must be the very common Thyme.
The observation about Thyme is that this is one plant that seems to thrive equally well on pastures or on low fertility ungrazed chalkhill. However, this moth has not been recorded from the conservation cattle pasture at Anchor Bottom.


1362 Pyrausta purpuralis
http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?bf=1362

Preferring dry grassland and chalky downland habitats, the moth is double-brooded, flying from May to June and July to August.
The larvae feed on corn mint (Mentha arvensis) and thyme (Thymus).

ADUR NOTES:
Recorded in small numbers on Mill Hill where the food plant is probably Thyme.


1365 Pyrausta desperate
http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=1839

The plainest-looking of our native Pyrausta species, this moth occupies suitably chalky and limestone habitats throughout the British Isles.
It is double-brooded, with flight periods in May and June, and later in July and August.
The larvae feed on ribwort plantain (Plantago lanceolata), greater plantain (P. major), often in groups, in silken galleries.

ADUR NOTES:

Recorded in small numbers on Mill Hill and surrounding areas. Ribwort Plantain occurs.


Scoparia paralela
http://www.hantsmoths.org.uk/moths/moth_1333.htm

Common on the coast and on what remains of the chalk downland; very occasional elsewhere.
The larvae feed on various decaying plant matter, and possibly roots of ragwort (Senecio jacobaea).

ADUR NOTES:

Recorded in small numbers on Mill Hill, as it it is hard to spot it is probably quite prevalent.


899 Pancalia leeuwenhoek
http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=2013

The larvae feed on hairy violet (viola hirta) or dog violet (viola canina), with the adults flying in sunshine from April to June, in its chalk and limestone habitats.
The moth is locally common in southern England, and sparsely distributed throughout the rest of the UK.

ADUR NOTES:

This micro-moth can be abundant (1000+) on the lower slopes of Mill Hill and is not known form elsewhere although it is likely to be overlooked. The food plant of violets are abundant here. This abundance of this moth is one wild guess of a possible reason why the Dark Green Fritillary is absent on Mill Hill as both species use the same food plant. As the violets are not abundant anywhere else in the Adur area, this moth has not been recorded. It may (probably) occurs on the Cissbury Ring pastures but I have not checked. It has not been recorded from the conservation pastures at Anchor Bottom.


2470 Small Purple-barred Phytometra viridarium
http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=4529

It frequents acid heathland, chalky downland and open woodland, and is most common in the south of England, occurring locally elsewhere to northern Scotland and Ireland.
The larvae feed on the flowers and leaves of common milkwort (Polygala vulgaris) and heath milkwort (P. serpyllifolia).

ADUR NOTES:

Recorded in small numbers on Mill Hill, where it is easier than the other species to spot but probably overlooked more often than not. Not recorded elsewhere. The food plant of Milkwort is very common on Mill Hill, but also common on the Slonk Hill Cutting. The terrain is difficult on the Slonk Hill Cutting and this is probably the reason why the moth has not been recorded there.




Adur Moths
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Moths.html

Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Butterfly-list2007.html

Cheers

Andy Horton
glaucus@hotmail.com
Adur Valley Nature Notes
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Adur2006.html
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Adur2007.html

User avatar
Perseus
Posts: 385
Joined: Wed Jan 18, 2006 7:09 pm

Re: Observations of some of the smaller moths in the Adur ar

Postby Perseus » Mon Dec 17, 2007 1:49 pm

Addenda:

Original chalkhill is nearer to limestone pavements than calcareous grassland. There is a continuum or ecological succession from bare chalk or limestone to grassland, caused by the accumulation of humus from decaying vegetation and erosion of the underlying bedrock. Chalk is softer so it erodes quickly. Grazing animals hasten the process by breaking up the bedrock and their excrement encourages grasses, good for grazing but not for butterflies.

Andy Horton


Perseus wrote:Hello,

Observations of some of the smaller moths in the Adur district area

There are a few small day-flying moths listed below that are found on chalk downland. All the records are from the lower slopes of Mill Hill as these moths are not common enough elsewhere to be recorded.

1366 Pyrausta nigrata
http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=3530

It occurs on chalky downland in the south of England and the limestone pavements of Cumbria and Westmoreland.
Having two generations, the adults are on the wing in June and July and later in September and October.

Cheers

Andy Horton


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