Butterfly Conservation plays a key role in the conservation of moths in the UK and much of this work is carried out under the Action for Threatened Moths project. This project began in 1999 and receives funding from Natural England.
A team of moth specialists at Butterfly Conservation, working together with expert volunteers, contractors and staff from partner organisations, has undertaken a huge amount of work on Britain's rarest and most threatened moths since the project began.
Action for Threatened Moths has undertaken surveying and monitoring of moth populations, detailed ecological research to determine species requirements and advised on habitat management for many of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan moths.
This joined-up approach offers the best prospects for conservation. The Straw Belle (pictured left) is a good example of what the Action for Threatened Moths project has achieved. First, surveys commissioned by the project, together with recording undertaken by Butterfly Conservation staff and volunteers, provided an up-to-date picture of the moth's distribution. Annual monitoring was instigated at several sites, so the fortunes of the moth can be assessed accurately from year to year. Studies of Straw Belle caterpillars revealed new information about foodplants and the species' requirement for a varied grassland sward (i.e. a mosaic of long and shorter turf). This was then followed by training workshops with land owners and conservation staff to provide advice on how best to manage sites for this important moth. In spite of all this progress, the Straw Belle still faces threats and our knowledge of how to conserve its small, isolated populations in the long-term is incomplete. Ongoing action is needed.
Much of the work of the Action for Threatened Moths project, and other Butterfly Conservation work on moths is reported in the Lepidoptera Conservation Bulletin.
Find out how you can help with moth conservation.