Rare moth found at Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park

Thought to be extinct

Niamh O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Niamh O'Donoghue

Email:

niamh.odonoghue@leinsterleader.ie

Rare moth found at Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park

The Suspected moth

A rare moth, thought to be extinct since the sixties, has been found at Lullymore Heritage and Discovery Park.

Expert Philip Strickland of www.moths.ie made the discovery of the Suspected Parastichtis suspecta at the Kildare park. He described the identification of this species at a moth trap on July 15 2017 as a very important find.

“In the UK and Europe the moth usually flies in July and August and is found in bog and heathland where there are birch and willow. These are the larval food plants and it in this larval (caterpillar) stage from April to June,” he said.

“It over winters as an egg on the host plant. As it hasn’t been seen in Ireland for so long we can only assume that the behaviour here would be similar.”

He explained; “Finding eight adults at one trapping session in the Heritage Park suggests that there is a healthy population present though I have trapped in the same location in previous years and not found them. I plan to trap again in 2018 and beyond to try to find out a bit more about its distribution in the area.”

He said he would also be hopeful it may be found elsewhere in Ireland in similar habitat given the fact that there is an increasing interest in moths and moth trapping.

Last recorded in Ireland in 1962, it was presumed extinct here. He said the Heritage Park site is proving to be of national significance with the recording of a considerable number of rare and scarce species.

“On going surveying should be continued as it is recognised as a vital component in continually assessing the overall health of habitats,” he added.

Lullymore Discovery and Heritage Park manager, Ray Stapleton commented; “I think the importance of finds like this are huge for the midlands as it proves that the post industrial Peatlands are of great value to biodiversity if they are managed in the way that the Park has done since 2011.

“This doesn’t cost much to do — simply block drains and allow nature gradually retake its lost territory. The potential for numerous species to thrive on this habitat is great as we have seen through Philip’s work and what we see on the ground in Lullymore Heritage Park every year — red squirrel, pine marten, hare, lapwing, buzzard, newts, frogs, butterflies and moths to name but a few.”

Mr Stapleton concluded; “It may take a while to happen but I firmly believe that this is a win:win as our Peatlands biodiversity area is really beneficial to the environment and is key to us attracting tourism from all over the world.”