Rare moth re-discovered in Scottish Highlands


 Ethmia pyraustaFrom Wildlife Extra:

Very rare and elusive moth re-discovered by accident in the Scottish Highlands.

During a Moth Count training session at Aigas Field Centre in Inverness-shire, Andy Scott and Margaret Currie produced pictures of a moth for identification. Workshop leaders, Mark Young and Roy Leverton, instantly recognised it as the fabulously rare Ethmia pyrausta, an almost mythical species of the Highlands.

The black winged and orange bodied Ethmia pyrausta was first recorded in the Shin Valley in 1853, and must have survived unseen in the area ever since. Apart from the original 1853 specimen, only four others have ever been found in the UK. Two were found in 1996 on the top of Glas Maol in the Cairngorms with a further two since found nearby. The caterpillars have never been found in Britain.

This one was rescued from a spider’s web near Loch Morie – close to the site of the 1853 sighting. Previous to this discovery, there were doubts that the species still lived in The Highlands at all.

Mark Young said: “It is now up to us to try and find out where the moth breeds and to make sure that its habitat is safe. Hopefully, it can survive there for the next 155 years.”

Talking about moths; also from Wildlife Extra:

June 2008. A rare half male and half female moth has emerged in the pupae nursery at the Natural History Museum‘s Amazing Butterflies exhibition. The left wings of the gynandromorph Antheraea frithi moth look female and the right wings look male, with a definite dividing line running along the moth’s body. Moths and butterflies have a short life span, so visitors will be able to see this rare star at Amazing Butterflies for a short time only. It will then form part of the Museum’s world class, 9 million strong Lepidoptera collection.

Rare pine hoverfly to be reintroduced to the Cairngorms: here.

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