Kentish Glory (Endromis versicolora)
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.
Most records come from two well known fairly accessible sites; Culbin Forest and Granish. Over the last four years BCS Highland Branch have run annual field trips at Kentish Glory sites to help raise its profile. A targeted trapping weekend based at FCS’s Inshriach Forest and Glenfeshie was held in spring 2014 with 66 light traps set but no Kentish Glory were recorded.
There is not a standardised method for monitoring Kentish Glory populations although regular trapping at the species two strongholds has provided some comparative data. Kentish Glory recorded at Craigellachie SSSI in 2013 as part of Site Condition Monitoring.
Advice given on a tree planting scheme near Aviemore to enhance the proposals to benefit Kentish Glory. Advice also previously given to FCS at Culbin and Inshriach.
Planned in Deeside, Culbin, Badenoch and Strathspey and Highland Perthshire, predominantly focussing on sites on, or adjacent to, the National Forest Estate. Continue to encourage visiting and local moth-ers to look for this species away from the two well known hotspots.
Intend to work more closely with the Cairngorms National Park Authority to help deliver targeted management advice and comment on new woodland schemes close to Kentish Glory sites to ensure they take account of the moth. Investigate the possibility of undertaking volunteer work parties to enhance habitat at sites where woodland succession is an issue.
Plan to develop a pheromone in collaboration with Dr Joe Burman at Canterbury Christ Church University as a survey and monitoring tool. The first stage requires moths to be reared from eggs or larvae obtained in the field in order for the chemical composition of the natural pheromones to be identified, synthesised and subsequently tested in the field.
Forester (Adscita statices)
Increased survey effort and awareness has resulted in a number of new colonies being discovered and confirmation of the moth’s continued presence at others after several years absence.
A number of sites have Forester habitat being managed for under SRDP in Argyll. Have liaised with FCS about improvements to the grazing regime to benefit Forester at Mabie Forest.
Dr Andrew Masterman collected habitat variables at Forester sites in Argyll to help identify important site attributes. Aspects of Forester moth autecology specifically in relation to Scotland were discussed at the recent XIV International Zygaenidae Symposium held on Mull in September 2014.
Andrew plans to continue his Forester moth surveys in Argyll.
Currently developing a Agri-environment Climate Scheme application on Luing to benefit Forester moth in partnership with SAC Consulting.
Andrew plans to continue his research to help understand the important aspects of Scottish Forester sites. Dr Joe Burman is keen to develop a synthetic pheromone for Forester moth but this is reliant on rearing the species from eggs obtained from wild caught females or from larvae found in the field, neither an easy task.
Links for more information
Butterfly Conservation Scotland’s Learn About
For information on sites to survey in Argyll