Birkdale House

Matson Ground Moth Survey

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Birkdale House

31st August 2023

Moths often get a bad press. Many people immediately think of the harm clothes moths do. But did you know that moths are essential pollinators? They are also a vital food source for birds and bats, as well as being a great indicator of habitat health. Which is why we carry out a moth survey every year at Matson Ground.

Our moth expert recently visited Matson Ground to carry out this year’s survey at three different sites across the farm, and the results were very impressive.

Moth Trapping

The survey is carried out using a moth trap. Moth trapping uses an artificial light source to attract the moths. In a traditional moth trap, the light source is suspended over a box into which the moths fly. Egg cartons are placed in the bottom of the box so that the moths have somewhere to hide before being counted and returned to the wild.

The Results

Our moth expert recorded a total of 1110 moths, and 63 different species, and while there weren’t any unlikely finds, the variety and number of moths seen demonstrates that there is a wide variety of high quality habitats across Matson Ground.

The species recorded need a wide range of habitats and foodplants for the adult moths and their caterpillars to survive and thrive. Several of the species are currently regarded as common but are actually UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species for research. But even though many of these species are still regarded as common, they are important species to help us monitor the health of our countryside.

The overall picture for our moths from the State of Moths Report 2021 is that of a general decline, so the habitat management and restoration taking place at Matson Ground is providing essential high quality sanctuaries for these moths.

Below are just a few of the species found on the farm:

Beautiful Golden; Barred Hook Tip; Clay Triple Lines; Iron Prominent; Light Emerald (the one in the image above); Lempke’s Gold Spot; Muslin Footman; Peach Blossom; Ruby Tiger; Willow Beauty; True Lovers Knot; and Scalloped Oak.

And the image on the left shows the inside of the moth trap during the Matson Ground moth survey.