Wednesday 22 May
Sussex emerald moth (Thalera fimbrialis)
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Sussex emerald moth fact file
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Sussex emerald moth description
This moth was given the common name 'Sussex Emerald' because it was first identified in Britain at Beachy Head in Sussex in 1902. Adults are an attractive pale green colour with reddish flecks at the edges of the wings. The forewings are crossed by two wavy white lines, and the hindwings have just one cross-line (1). The striking caterpillars are yellow-green in colour with a red line along the back, which may occur as a row of dots. Two spikes that are tipped with red protrude out from the body and reach over the head, which is drawn into two points (3).
- Wingspan: 35- 39 mm (1)
Sussex emerald moth biology
The Sussex Emerald is a single-brooded species; adults are active in July and early August and fly just after nightfall (1). The caterpillars are found towards the end of August through to the June of the following year, with a period of hibernation in winter (1). They are known to feed on yarrow, gorse and a range of other low-growing plants (1), but the majority are found on wild carrot (4).Top
Sussex emerald moth range
At present the Sussex Emerald is known from just one site, Dungeness; the largest stretch of shingle in Europe. It is now extinct as a resident breeding species at the Crumbles near Eastborne in Sussex. There are single records of strays or migrants from Dorset, Swanage, Bournemouth, Hampshire, Essex, Beachy Head, and Northiam in Sussex. This species is known throughout central Europe, and the range extends east to central Asia (1).Top
Sussex emerald moth habitat
At present, this moth is only recorded on one shingle beach in Britain (1).Top
Sussex emerald moth status
Afforded full protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (2).Top
Sussex emerald moth threatsTop
Sussex emerald moth conservation
Dungeness is a National Nature Reserve (NNR), a Special Area of Conservation (SAC), a Special Protection Area (SPA) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Very little active management is needed at the site to preserve the habitat for native flora and fauna (7). The Sussex Emerald moth is not a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species.Top
Find out more
Further reading on moths:
Leverton, R. (2001) Enjoying Moths. Poyser, London.
Skinner, B. (1984) Moths of the British Isles. Penguin Books, Harmondsworth
Information authenticated by David Walker.Top
- A winter survival strategy characteristic of some mammals in which an animal's metabolic rate slows down and a state of deep sleep is attained. Whilst hibernating, animals survive on stored reserves of fat that they have accumulated in summer. In insects, the correct term for hibernation is 'diapause', a temporary pause in development and growth. Any stage of the lifecycle (eggs, larvae, pupae or adults) may enter diapause, which is typically associated with winter.
- (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.
- Skinner, B. (1984) Moths of the British Isles. Penguin Books, Harmondsworth.
- JNCC (12/2001): http://www.jncc.gov.uk/species/protect/animals.htm
- Carter, D.J. and Hargreaves, B. (1986) A field guide to caterpillars of butterflies and moths. William Collins and Sons, London.
- Walker, D (2002) Pers. comm.
- South, R. (1961) Moths of the British Isles. Frederick Warne and Co. Ltd, London.
- Pers. observation from image.
- British Energy (12/2001): http://www.british-energy.com/environment/annual00_she/site_reports/mn_dungeness_land.shtml
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