The Kentish Glory is a spectacularly large and handsome moth that is usually on the wing from mid-April until the third week of May (thereby ensuring its flight period co-incides with that of birch bud-burst).
The males fly between mid-morning and early afternoon, and again at dusk, and also come readily to light at night. The females probably only fly at night. Neither sex feeds as adults and both sexes can be found at rest by day on vegetation trying to mimic a dead leaf.
The females lay their eggs in batches, usually of 10-30 eggs, at a mean height of 1.2m. They seldom lay their eggs higher than 2m on birch scrub, even when taller trees are available. They prefer sheltered but unshaded saplings, laying predominantly on the sunny side on the outer twigs around 1-2cm in from the tips.
The larvae feed on the leaves gregariously at first but later become solitary. Silver Birch Betula pendula is the principal food, but also occasionally Downy Birch B. pubescens and even Alder Alnus glutinosa may also be used.
We are concerned about this moth due to a decrease in the extent of open, young birch woodland. Most recent records tend to be from one or two 'hotspots' favoured by moth recorders, so its status elsewhere is unclear, hence the need to encourage recorders to other sites.
For suggestions of survey sites please contact Tom Prescott at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 01540 661469.
If you wish to see Kentish Glory, the Highland Branch are running a moth trapping events to target the species at Culbin Forest in Moray. Please contact the branch for details.