Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Nb

Local Status: Very rare, possible discreet resident.

Local Record: Grade 4   See here for explanation

Flight time: One generation, Jun-Aug.

Forewing: 19-23mm.

Foodplant: Sea Aster, Sea Wormwood and Goldenrod.

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 recorded19981998
Year last recorded19981998
Number of records12
Number of individuals12
Unique positions12
Unique locations12
Adult records12
Immature records00

For the region, we have a total of 2 records from 2 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1998.


2217 Star-wort 01
© Paul Harris, 4 Jul 1998

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A local species confined to the coasts of west Wales, south-east England and East Anglia, and inland in a handful of English counties, the larva feeding on the flowers of sea aster (Aster tripolium) on the coast and goldenrod (Solidago vigaurea) inland. In Dorset, the moth has been seen once in the past one hundred years: Preston, at MV on 4 July 1998 (P Knight). The nearest potential source for this moth is Lodmoor, a saltmarsh and reedbed habitat containing small amounts of heavily grazed sea aster, three kilometres away to the south-west. A light westerly airflow was established on the date in question with no opportunity for immigration. Old records indicate that the species once occurred in the Weymouth area, and this example suggests a small colony survives there still. Sea aster also grows among saltmarsh within Poole Harbour and on the muddy banks on the Fleet, but the plant is over-grazed to such an extent in all these sites that the moth has little chance of becoming established. Sea aster also grows on the undercliff between St Albans Head and Durlston, but again quantities are small and well scattered. The remaining records from the nineteenth century were mainly of larvae found on the once widely grown china aster (Callistephus chinensis), and these show that it occurred in the larger gardens of the day: Glanvilles Wootton, larva in greenhouse (Dale), Chickerell, on sea aster (N Richardson), Weymouth, (in A. Druitt coll), Bloxworth, (Reverend E Bankes), larvae at times abundant (O Pickard Cambridge), Binnegar, two larvae found by Mr Farrer on china asters in his kitchen gardens in the autumn of 1883, eleven second instar larvae on 1 September 1888, emerged between 11 June 1888 and 28 June 1888 (Reverend E Bankes), Poole, four larvae on china aster (W Parkinson Curtis), Cranborne, several larvae on china aster (F Fisher).

There is no indication that the moth has ever colonised woodland and heathland on sandy soils where goldenrod grows. A key recommendation for the Weymouth Reserves plus the Poole Harbour SSSIs that support sea aster is to maintain flower-bearing plants until the larval stage has been completed, usually by late September, by reducing grazing levels over the summer. This should be beneficial to any existing populations. Searches for the moth is recommended, but it is a reluctant visitor to light, and may be better sought by searching for larvae. Sugaring with honey lures such as honeycomb may be an alternative way of locating the species.

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