Could you help with a survey of rare Belted Beauty moths in Lancashire?
The single annual survey is a daytime activity involving as many people as possible counting as many male and female Belted Beauty moths as possible, at the peak of their emergence period (usually mid to late April, depending on tides). In addition a series of transect walks are carried out roughly weekly between late March and early June.
Why it is important
Lancashire hosts what is believed to be the last remaining colony in England (and possibly Wales as well) of this species. Elsewhere in Britain it is still present on the Western Isles of Scotland and the west coast of Ireland. The Lancashire colony is situated to the south of Heysham Power Station on a 2km stretch of coastal saltmarsh stretching from Sunderland Point, north to Potts Corner. At its other sites in Britain, and historically in Lancashire, Cheshire and North Wales, the habitat for this moth has always been developing coastal dune grassland so the Lancashire site is atypical and appears to be unique in Europe.
With threats from coastal development, major infrastructure projects and climate change effects, it is vitally important that we have long-running and accurate data to support any information requested relating to the health of the population and its ecological requirements. The annual count is part of this process and gives an overall idea of where the moth occurs on the site, how the moth may use different parts of the site at different parts of the flight season and critically, how it is faring. Uses of the marsh, such as recreational and agricultural are also monitored by this and the transect visits.
How to get involved
Full details of this year's event have now been posted on our events listings.