Rare Moth Visits Dorset Due To Heatwave

The recent heatwave has seen hundreds of rare moths arriving to sites in Dorset in what experts are describing as the best migration for the insects in years.

A variety of species, many of which are usually found in the Mediterranean, have turned up in the UK and Ireland as a result of the warm weather and southerly winds, Butterfly Conservation said.

The rare flame brocade moth, normally found in Spain and France, has been seen in its highest numbers for 130 years.

Unusually large numbers of the moth, which usually only turns up in single figures in the UK in autumn, recorded at a site in Sussex have led experts to conclude that there could be a colony in the county.

In light of the array of species turning up in the UK, Butterfly Conservation is describing this autumn as the best immigration season for more than five years.

The death's-head hawk-moth, made famous by the Silence Of The Lambs film, has turned up at the RSPB's Arne nature reserve in Dorset, as well as in Plymouth.

Large numbers of vestal moths and a few crimson speckled moths, both normally resident in the Mediterranean, have been seen on the south-west and south-east coasts and in Gwynedd.

More than 20 of an extremely rare tropical species which does not even have an English name, the Spoladea recurvalis moth, have been recorded in Sussex, Dorset, Cornwall, Cumbria and the Isle of Man - and in Ireland for the first time.

Mark Parsons, Butterfly Conservation's head of moth conservation, said:

 ''In the last 10 days, we've had a prolonged period of warm weather with southerly winds which have brought things up.

''Autumn is usually a good time for immigrant species, but it's the sheer number and diversity this year that's special.''