Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Nb

Local Status: Very scarce and restricted coastal resident.

Local Record: Grade 3   See here for explanation

Flight time: One generation, Jun-Jul.

Forewing: 14-18mm.

Foodplant: Many strandline plants.

IMPORTANT - Please note that the maps and accounts are provisional, subject to change and further update.  The whole dataset still needs to go through the final verification process and it is likely that a very small number of records will not satisfy the present requirements and there are other records that have not been formally submitted.  The information is for guidance only.

Record breakdown:

Year first recorded188619941886
Year last recorded201020052010
Number of records242598
Number of individuals9147276
Unique positions14538
Unique locations11634
Adult records202386
Immature records3210

For the region, we have a total of 98 records from 34 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1886.


2093 Sand Dart 03 larvae
© Mike Jeffes, 23 Sep 2013
2093 Sand Dart 02
© Dave Foot
2093 Sand Dart 01
© Martin Cade, 1 Jul 2010

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A very local species restricted to the seaward side of coastal sandhills in England, Wales and eastern Scotland, the larva feeding nocturnally on sandhill plants, especially prickly saltwort (Salsola kali), sea rocket (Cakile maritima) and orache (Atriplex spp.), and hiding in the sand by day. In Dorset, the moth is frequent extremely locally on sand dune systems on the south-east coast. It was formerly abundant on Studland, and colonies were evidently established between Weymouth and Portland: Chesil Beach, thirteen in June 1890 (Reverend E Bankes et al), many different colour forms some almost white (N Richardson, 1896, Dorset Field Club, 17:160), Ferrybridge, at sugar on 10 July 1889 (Reverend E Bankes, N Richardson), Sandsfoot Castle, disturbed amongst the sand and gravel pits on 28 June 1886 (Reverend E Bankes, Reverend C Digby). The moth's favoured host plants have declined dramatically due to human pressures. Prickly saltwort used to be locally plentiful on beaches between Charmouth and Highcliffe, but recent counts have revealed just fifty plants at Shell Bay and three more on the 'unspoilt' Furzey Island. Sea sandwort (Honckenya peploides) ranged all along the coast in the past, but it too has disappeared from most sandy beaches where people congregate, and now it is just an occasional, restricted to Burton Bradstock, north Portland, Poole Harbour and Christchurch Harbour. Sea rocket has survived at just a few sites along the Purbeck coast, in Poole Harbour and in Christchurch Harbour, but the plant has disappeared from many other beaches, again due to human pressures. The Sand Dart is evidently under threat from the decline of its unique and precarious sand/strand-line habitat. Conservation agencies should explicitly reference this species in the management plans that govern the protection of sand dune system flora and/or shingle flora at Chesil Beach, Studland, Brownsea Island and Hengistbury Head SSSIs.

The following light trap records refer to potential dispersed or immigrant examples (abroad it is found along the western and northern coasts of Iberia and France, thence eastward along the north European coast to Lithuania: Lyme Regis, on 29 June 1994 (B Henwood), West Bexington, on 5 July 2004 (R Eden), Portland, on 20 July 1995, 27 July 1995, 20 June 2000 (M Cade), Church Ope Cove, on 28 June 1986 (D Brown).

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