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THE RARE ROSY MARSH MOTH IN CUMBRIA

Thought to be extinct in England since the 1850's, the Rosy Marsh Moth was rediscovered in August 2005 by Rob Petley-Jones at his Roudsea NNR, when he trapped 4 males and three females. This was a very exciting find and rich reward for Rob's huge enthusiasm for the county's moths.


A male adult Rosy Marsh Moth and a larva feeding on Bog Myrtle.
Photos reproduced by kind permission of Rob Petley-Jones

Five known sites had existed in west Wales since the 1960's. However, the currently held expert opinion is that this moth has probably always been present on the Roudsea and Holker Mosses but that afforestation has confined it to small areas that have been overlooked.It is a moth that comes to light very late in the night, when most moth trappers have packed up!

The distinctive larva can be found after dark in late March and early April by searching its foodplant, Bog Myrtle. This is a common species on many of the raised mires in South Cumbria. The adult flies in August.

Several raised mires in South Cumbria are in process of restoration by removing planted trees and blocking drains to raise water levels. In the coming years keen attention will be paid to places like Meathop, Foulshaw and Nicholls Mosses in the hope that the moth species exists there as well.