Specialist moths in Breckland: creating bare ground habitat on a landscape-scale

  • Published source details Hearle S. & Ellis S. (2012) Specialist moths in Breckland: creating bare ground habitat on a landscape-scale. Pages 36-41 in: S. Ellis, N.A. Bourn & C.R. Bulman (eds.) Landscape-scale conservation for butterflies and moths: lessons from the UK. Butterfly Conservation.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Maintain or create bare ground

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Maintain or create bare ground

    A replicated study in 2008–2011 in 15 grassland sites in Norfolk and Suffolk, UK (Hearle and Ellis 2012) reported that two to three years after bare ground plots were created using five methods, the adult moths or caterpillars of one or more of the grey carpet Lithostege griseata, lunar yellow underwing Noctua orbona, forester Adscita statices and marbled clover Heliothis viriplaca were found on 7–27% of plots, but the basil thyme case-bearer Coleophora tricolor was found on none. Results were not tested for statistical significance. Either the adults or larvae of one or more of the grey carpet, lunar yellow underwing, forester and marbled clover were recorded on 28% of rotovation plots, 66% of forest ploughing plots, 83% of agricultural ploughing plots, 75% of disc harrowing plots and 73% of turf stripping plots. Each of these species was found on 7–27% of plots, however the basil thyme case-bearer Coleophora tricolor was not found on any of the plots. See paper for details for individual species. In November 2008–December 2009, fifty-nine bare ground plots were created across 15 sites using one of the five following techniques: rotovating (29 plots at 13 sites), forest ploughing (9 plots at 5 sites), agricultural ploughing (6 plots at 2 sites), disc harrowing (4 plots at 3 sites) and turf stripping (11 plots at 4 sites). Most were 150 m long and 3 m wide but some were larger (dimensions not given). All plots were surveyed for moths in 2009 and 2010 using daytime walking transects (twice annually in April–June and July–September) and night-time torchlight vegetation surveys (November–March). Half of plots were surveyed again in 2011.

    (Summarised by: Eleanor Bladon)

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