The project aims to undertake conservation work on a number of section 41 (Priority) micro and macro moths. The project is delivered by staff and volunteers, often in partnership with many other organisations. 

 Key activities include:

  • Undertaking and encouraging surveying to gain a better understanding of status/distribution
  • Monitoring key populations and habitats through a variety of survey methods
  • Compiling species distribution and monitoring data to help target management
  • Providing advice to land owners/site managers/other organisations on Priority species
  • Recommending and encouraging the implementation of appropriate management
  • Creating foodplant and priority species factsheets to help advise management

The moth projects work on a very wide range of both micro and macro moths and the project has a UK remit, but examples of some of the species work conducted in England is outlined below:

Black-veined Moth

There was a target to maintain at least five viable populations in the historic range of the species by 2010. As at 2013 the species is considered to survive on at least seven sites. Much effort is put into monitoring populations and habitat quality for this highly endangered, red data book species, which is also listed on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act. The moth is restricted to a small number of longer turf calcareous grassland sites in East Kent.  We work closely with Natural England and management advice and recommendations are provided to land owners and site managers.  

Scythris siccella 

This species has been monitored annually at its sole UK site in Dorset since 2009.  Targeted management to create the early successional stages required by the moth has been undertaken each autumn since 2008. Following this management, the number of larval tubes found has increased, with the exception of 2013, when numbers fell back (possibly due to the late spring). Monitoring and management, in liaison with Natural England and the Crown Estate is expected to continue annually.

Shoulder-striped Clover

The main aims of the work on this species are to gain a better understanding of this scarce moths distribution and ecology. Effort is concentrated on the New Forest and Dorset (the species is also known to occur in Surrey) where it is found on heathland. This work targets the larval stage, with vegetation height and structure measured where the larvae are found. Current indications are that this species is found in shorter vegetation with some open ground, possibly with a preference for recent burns. Further work is planned for the future to build on these findings.

Sussex Emerald

Butterfly Conservation works in partnership with Natural England and key land owners on Dungeness, Kent, to conserve this moth which is listed on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act. Larval monitoring is currently undertaken annually with advice being provided to a range of ownerships. There are a number of threats to this species, not least the increasing numbers of rabbits. Experimental habitat creation plots and exclosures have been trialled in recent years. In addition a second small population may occur near Kingsdown, Kent, with larvae found a few years ago and the adult recorded subsequently. Site advice has been provided for this latter site.

Barberry Carpet

This species, which is listed on Schedule 5 of the Wildlife & Countryside Act, feeds solely on Barberry and is confined to about 10 sites over southern England. The project involves several volunteers who monitor individual sites, with advice being provided to site owners and land managers. Another strand of this project is to encourage the planting out of Barberry to expand the available habitat at these sites. Although the plant grows slowly, this strategy has been shown to benefit the species. A few introductions have also been undertaken, with mixed results.


 Natural England, The Patsy Wood Trust and Butterfly Conservation Members and Donors.