Sandhill rustic moth (Luperina nickerlii leechi)

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Sandhill Rustic
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Sandhill rustic moth fact file

Sandhill rustic moth description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderLepidoptera
FamilyNoctuidae
GenusLuperina (1)

There are four races, or subspecies of the Sandhill Rustic moth in Great Britain (3). Luperina nickerli leechi has silvery-grey forewings, and a brownish band passing across the centre of the wings (2).

Size
Wingspan: 32-42 mm (2)
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Sandhill rustic moth biology

All races of the Sandhill Rustic are nocturnal and single-brooded; adults fly in August and September. They are not attracted by light, but are more likely to be found resting on the stems of the foodplant (2), sand couch-grass (Elytrigia juncea) (4). Caterpillars are present between September and early July, feeding in the stem bases and the tops of the roots of the food plant (2). The overwintering stage is the caterpillar (2).

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Sandhill rustic moth range

This race of the Sandhill Rustic was first found in 1974. It has an extremely restricted range, occurring only in one small site in the south-west of Cornwall (3).

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Sandhill rustic moth habitat

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Sandhill rustic moth status

Classified as Endangered in Great Britain (3).

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Sandhill rustic moth threats

As it occurs at just one site, the population is exceptionally vulnerable to chance events such as storms (3). However, the caterpillars are protected from winter gales because they live at first inside the stems of the foodplant. The other main threat is the encroachment onto the beach of thicker vegetation, especially red fescue grass, with the loss of open areas of bare sand suitable for Sandhill Rustic and sand couch-grass (5).

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Sandhill rustic moth conservation

This race, along with Luperina nickerlii gueneei, another race that occurs in north Wales and Lancashire, is included in English Nature's Species Recovery Programme.

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Find out more

For more on English Nature's Species Recovery Programme see:
http://www.english-nature.org.uk/science/srp/default.asp
Further reading on moths:
Leverton, R. (2001) Enjoying moths. Poyser, London.
Skinner, B (1998) Moths of the British Isles. Viking, London.

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Authentication

Information authenticated by Adrian Spalding.

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Glossary

Single-brooded
(also known as 'univoltine'). Insect life cycle that takes 12 months to be complete, and involves a single generation. The egg, larva, pupa or adult over winters as a dormant stage.
Subspecies
A different race of a species, which is geographically separated from other populations of that species.
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References

  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (September 2002) http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/
  2. Skinner, B. (1984) Colour identification guide to moths of the British Isles. Viking, London.
  3. Shirt, D. B. (Ed). (1987) British Red Data Books: 2 Insects. Nature Conservancy Council, Peterborough.
  4. Spalding, A. (1994) The Sandhill Rustic- The Unanswered Questions. British Wildlife6: 37-39.
  5. Spalding, A. (1997) The use of the butterfly transect method for the study of the nocturnal moth Luperina nicklerii Goater (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and its possible application to other species. Biological Conservation, 80: 147-152.
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Image credit

Sandhill Rustic  
Sandhill Rustic

© Paul Waring

Paul Waring
Windmill View
1366 Lincoln Road
Werrington
Peterborough
PE4 6LS
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0) 1733 571 917
paul_waring@btinternet.com

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