Season (Adult / Immature):
National Status: Nb
Local Status: Very rare and very local. No recent record.
Local Record: Grade 4 See here for explanation
Flight time: Two generations, May-Jun, Aug.
Foodplant: Lady's Bedstraw
|Year first recorded||1892||1892|
|Year last recorded||2008||2008|
|Number of records||9||18|
|Number of individuals||15||30|
For the region, we have a total of 18 records from 10 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1892.
For further information refer UK Moths.
Davey, P., 2009: A scarce and decreased species restricted to chalk downland and coastal sandhills in southern England and Breckland, the larva feeding on lady's bedstraw (Galium verum). In Dorset, the moth has been found just once in the last thirty-eight years. This contrasts sharply with the observation penned in 1967: "Of regular and fairly frequent occurrence on the downs" (per W Parkinson Curtis ms). The older records indicate that the species was local on unimproved chalk grassland in the north-east of the county, notably at Badbury Rings, Hod Hill and Handley Down, and presumably where lady's bedstraw and other dry grassland bedstraws carpeted the ground. Much of this prime habitat has disappeared under the plough, and the small fragments that remain are grazed so intensively that the host plants are never allowed to form drifts, so the moth has inevitably all but disappeared from the scene. The only recent record comes from a disused railway-line where the small chalky embankments are coated with lady's bedstraw: Hammoon, at MV light on 12 May 1998 (S Barrett, P Davey). The locality is five kilometers from Hod Hill where the moth once occurred and upon which herb-rich grassland habitat was obliterated by intensive cattle grazing. Conservation measures should include the provision of lightly-grazed areas of unimproved chalk grassland that support communities of bedstraw plant species, particularly lady's bedstraw on Dorset SSSI sites such as Hod Hill, Melbury Down, Badbury Rings and Handley Down. Such efforts may lead to viable communities of this species in the east of the county. Continued monitoring for the presence of this species is recommended. It is a double-brooded species and flies between mid-May and mid-June, and again in August.
A recent record of the moth on Portland, 18 May 2008 (M Cade) coincided with a warm east to north-easterly airflow. As the species has not been recorded from the coastal belt previously, this example may have originated from coastal sandhill habitat bordering the Channel or further east along the coastline of the Low Countries.