Ethmia Pyrausta

©Nigel Richards

©Nigel Richards


©Nigel Richards

©Nigel Richards

For those of you not familiar with Ethmia Pyrausta it is a moth. But it is not just any moth. Nigel Richards found two specimens at Croick yesterday and they were the sixth ever recorded finding of this particular moth.

According to the national expert at Aberdeen University:

“Basically the species was found along the Shin valley, south of Lairg, in May 1853 and the specimen exists in the BM(NH). No-one was able to re-find it until my student (Richard Smith) and I very unexpectedly found two adults in traps on Glas Maol at around 1000m in 1996. Amazing find and we speculated that its foodplant must be Thalictrum alpinum. Keith Bland immediately took an interest and found another adult stranded on a snow patch near Loch Vrotachan in 2001 and later, using a vacuum sampler, a larva near Cairnwell in an area where T alpinum was present. He failed to rear the larva but the appearance is characteristic. Then Margaret and Andy found one at the eastern end of Loch Morie in 2008, linking much more closely with the original locality.

No T alpinum was found near where the Loch Morie adult was found, so that was a bit of a blind avenue. Next one was found by a fisherman in May 2012 on the slopes of Ben Griam Mor (NC796391), well north of the Shin. Your record, nicely in the general area of these other occurrences lends support to the speculation that it is widely present in a stretch of country running down the north-eastern Highlands and associated valleys. Presumably it has remained undetected largely because the adult is out in April and May (later on the Cairngorms) and is very sedentary, so avoiding most entomologists”.

I think we can assume that Croick is definitely on the entomological map.

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