Rare moth seen during Alners walk

A very small moth with amazingly long antennae
Adela cuprella moth. Photo: Caroline Stringer

13 people met at our Alners Gorse Butterfly Reserve on Saturday April 16th for an introduction to the butterfly transect there. The temperature barely broke into double figures and the ground was uncomfortably muddy. Not a single butterfly was seen but in spite of the conditions, the first Nightingale of the season uttered a brief burst of three notes and a new moth species for the reserve was seen on a willow twig, waiting for the sun to come out.

The beautiful little micromoth Adela cuprella is a rarely seen and probably under-recorded species. Butterfly Conservation’s moth guru Mark Parsons decribes it as ‘very local’ with Dorset records from Lulworth, Winfrith and possibly Cogden Beach. It flies in the spring, April to May, and lays its eggs on the higher catkins of sallow. The tiny larvae fall to the ground on hatching and feed on material in the leaf litter.

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