Sunday, 24 July 2011

Rare Black Mountain Moth spotted at new sites in Scotland

Black Mountain Moth makes first visit to Trust sites

July 2011. Conservation experts at the National Trust for Scotland are reporting first sightings of the black mountain moth at Glencoe and Ben Lawers this summer.

It is the first time that the day-flying moth has been spotted in these areas, prompting hopes that this nationally scarce species is expanding into new territories. Trust ecologist Dan Watson made the Glencoe discovery on Buachaille Etive Mor, when carrying out a mountain bird survey.

Dan said: "Staff and volunteers spotted several small dark moths flying low over the vegetation - one of them settled long enough for a photograph to be taken, and this was enough to confirm it as a Black Mountain Moth, Glacies coracina.

Nationally scarce moth
"This is a nationally scarce species, only recorded from sixteen 10 kilometre squares since 2000. It has never been recorded from Glencoe before, and this would appear to be the first record for Argyll, the nearest known locations being in Perthshire. As the name suggests, it is a true montane species, only found in the Scottish Highlands within Britain and rarely seen below 2000 feet.

"The dark colour helps it to absorb heat from sunlight more effectively than pale moths do. The caterpillars feed on crowberry. In contrast, the only birds seen were meadow pipits and a few ravens, so the moth was definitely the highlight of the day."

Conservation staff have also spotted the same species for the first time at Ben Lawers.

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