eNewsletter April 2018

Peterborough Environment Capital

Four Spotted Moth Project

This project was established in 2000 as Werrington Brook Drain and the surrounding land supports one of the largest populations of the Four-spotted Moth Tyta luctuosa in the UK. Less than a dozen populations are known. The Four-spotted Moth is a UK Priority Species and a Red Data Book species.

Each year the population and its response to management is monitored, population trends are analysed and this information is fed back into directing the land management of the site. The survival of the Four-spotted Moth is dependent on annual management and appropriate timing and conduct of that management.

The annual observations are now used nationally to direct survey and monitoring effort on other sites. The weekly results are sent to Butterfly Conservation for inclusion in an e-mail newsletter to recorders the same week. 

In recognition of its biodiversity value the Marholm Crossing County Wildlife Site boundary has been extended to incorporate Brook Drain.

The project is aiming towards annual management of the sward in the breeding area to maintain an abundance of the larvae foodplant (field bindweed) in a sparse hot sward, and to ensure that annual development and periodic works within the area do not impact adversely on survival of the moth population. Past experience from the project has shown that annual monitoring and liaison is essential in maintaining positive management and the population of Four-spotted Moth.

Main activities carried out include weekly monitoring of the adult moth population throughout its two flight periods (late April-early July and mid-July-late August) by counting the number of individuals seen on a standard, fixed transect route and a written report of the results and a comparison with previous years so trends can be seen.

The fieldwork and the preparation of the annual report are conducted by Dr Paul Waring. The project partners include Butterfly Conservation, Peterborough City Council, Environment Agency, Network Rail and Anglian Water.

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