Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Nb

Local Status: Rare and local resident.

Local Record: Grade 3   See here for explanation

Flight time: One generation, May-Jun.

Forewing: 12-14mm.

Foodplant: Downy Birch, Silver Birch.

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 recorded186519961865
Year last recorded201120062011
Number of records18444
Number of individuals6033186
Unique positions11430
Unique locations11226
Adult records7014
Immature records8424

For the region, we have a total of 44 records from 26 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1865.


0381 Large Red-belted Clearwing 01
© Dave Foot

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A species confined to England, the larva overwintering once and feeding in a tunnel between the wood and bark of birch (Betulae spp.) and, less frequently, of alder (Alnus spp.). Larval frass may occasionally spill out from bark crevices or the top-edge of birch stumps during the autumn. The moth is the first Clearwing on the wing, emerging from the beginning of May onwards before 1 pm; peak emergence tends to coincide with warmer spells of weather. In Dorset, the moth is extremely local, with recent records from Bovington Heath, Chase Wood, Merritown Heath and Castle Hill Wood. Several factors may be responsible for this. The practice of coppicing all but died out by the 1960s. Before this time, the rural community recycled the birch that provided much-needed firewood, rural products, and the space to graze livestock. Since the 1960s, land management priorities have changed, large areas of birch and oak woodland have been replaced with conifers, the rural way of life has waned and the dependency on wood as a local resource with it. As the moth appears not to be easily detected through the use of pheromone lures, the following Bere Wood records from the early part of the twentieth century provides a fascinating tip on detecting the adult in suitable situations: Bere Wood, fourteen adults found inside rhododendron flowers at midday on 4 June 1906 (W Parkinson Curtis), two adults sitting quietly inside rhododendron flowers at 2pm on 7 June 1906, four adults alighting on the top of rhododendron flowers at 2:30pm, 2:55pm, 2:55pm and 3:55pm, respectively on 8 June 1907, four adults in or on rhododendron flowers between 12:45pm and 1:45pm on 29 May 1908, eighteen adults in or on rhododendron flowers between 8:50am and 11:30am on 3 June 1908 (Reverend E Bankes), on a rhododendron leaf on 9 June 1906 (F Haynes). The moth requires coppiced birch in open woodland and on heaths; such a commodity is at a premium at the present time. Conservation measures should include the maintenance of birch and alder trees through coppicing, among deciduous woodland.

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