Macro-Moth Papers - Paper 5
Moths Requiring Unusual Plants:
There are quite a number of moth species which are totally dependent
upon a particular plant and when this plant is unusual or uncommon,
or not readily recognised, the moth does not often get recorded unless
the plant happens to grow close to someone's garden where a moth trap
is operated. The following list, in no particular order, gives a number
of such plant/moth associations which may help us to add to our knowledge
of the distribution of moths in Cheshire. I have referred to Newton's
Flora of Cheshire to see that there is some chance of finding most of
the plants but we may need more up to date local knowledge to locate
some of them.
|English Name of Plant:
||10Km Squares for Moth:
||Often grows in big patches by rivers. We have only
four records for the Butterbur Moth.
||SJ47, 88, 97, 98.
||Is said to be common but does not seem to be noticed
very often. The Valerian Pug often occurs where there are good stands
of the plant but we have only three records.
||SJ46, 64, 97.
||Is not always easy to find. A hand-full of seedheads
from the Wirral Way a few years back produced the Barred Rivulet
of which we have only two records.
||Said by Newton to be 'frequent' though I don't think
I've seen it in Cheshire. We have no recent record of the
Pimpernel Pug but there are some in Gordon Smith's list.
||Is rare in the wild but there may be cultivated substitutes.
It is the foodplant of the Scorched Carpet which has recently been
||Is not easy to find in any quantity. It is the home
of two moths we see little of: The Marbled Coronet and the Netted
Coronet in: SJ28, 65 & 99.
Pug in: SJ27, 28, 36, 47, 65, 99.
||Is supposed to be common but in some squares is difficult
to find. The Toadflax Pug is only recorded from half our squares.
||SJ28, 29, 38, 44, 45, 46, 57, 64, 65, 66, 67, 75,
77, 87, 88, 98.
||Not uncommon but not always obvious. (Purging Buckthorn
does not seem to occur in Cheshire). Well known as the foodplant
of the Brimstone Butterfly but also of the Dark Umber, recorded
only in SJ28, and of the Brown Scallop - never recorded in
||Is rare in Cheshire as a wild shrub but it is widely
grown in gardens which presumably explains two records of the Scarce
||The wild version, is not uncommon in some parts of
Cheshire. The only real concentration which I know is on the railway
cutting at Bunbury but this has not produced the Bleached
Pug. The moth is not difficult to find in North Wales but occurs
where the plant is under trees. (Note - the Golden Rod Pug is not
uncommon in Cheshire and seems to prefer Ragwort).
||In North Wales this plant has yielded the Lead Coloured
Pug but it is unrecorded in Cheshire.
||According to Newton this plant is fairly widespread
in the West of Cheshire but our records of the Mallow Moth are much
||SJ27, 28, 29, 44.
||Grows in quantity in very few places, perhaps I should
have treated it in the same way as heather (see Paper-2). Haworth's
Minor has only been recorded from three of the sites.
||SJ65, 88, 99.
At the other end of the scale we have the Small Rivulet in every 10Km
square except SJ56, where is there a good patch of Hemp Nettle in SJ56?
And, even more ridiculous, Brown Silver Lines is unrecorded from SJ29,
36 & 46; where is there a good patch of Bracken in each of these
C. Ian Rutherford.