Rare Moth Found in Cadoxton Ponds

Rare moth species discovered at Dow Corning’s Cadoxton Ponds Nature Reserve

For the past few years we have been managing the Cadoxton Ponds Nature Reserve, in Barry, Wales on behalf of Dow Corning. The nature reserve is important for an array of wildlife due to the number of different habitats present, from grassland and scrub to ponds and reedbeds.

Anania perlucidalis by Vaughn Matthews

Anania perlucidalis by Vaughn Matthews

As part of the management, we have been carrying out a range of species surveys including birds, butterflies, small mammals, reptiles and amphibians. These surveys have produced an already impressive species list for the site with a number of scarce or rare species having been recorded, including bittern, harvest mice, shrill carder bees and small blue butterflies.

One of the regular monitoring activities that we carry out is moth recording on the reserve. This involves putting out a powerful light overnight and visiting early in the morning to see what has been attracted in before releasing the moths unharmed.

The exciting part of moth trapping is that you never know what might turn up and this was certainly the case when the trap was checked on the morning of 24th of June this year. It had been a warm night which usually means good numbers of moths and we recorded over 50 species with one in particular being very noteworthy.

It may look fairly under-whelming compared to some of the spectacular moths around at this time of year but this species hadn’t been recorded in the UK until 1957 and wasn’t seen in Wales until 2009. This was only the 3rd record of Anania perlucidalis (it doesn’t have a common name) for Wales and the first for Glamorgan!

Marsh thistle

Marsh thistle

The species measures about 2cm from wingtip to wingtip and inhabits wetlands such as marshes and reedbeds where the caterpillars feed on Marsh Thistles. Cadoxton Ponds has extensive areas of such habitats so hopefully the moth can continue to flourish here and spread further across the county.

We manage the nature reserve to benefit wetland-loving species such as this as good marshy habitats are relatively scarce in the local area. We will be running the moth trap again soon and hoping that there will be something equally exciting to report!

Cadoxton Ponds is 30 acre nature reserve created by Dow Corning on land adjacent to the manufacturing site. The reserve hosts educational visits to support the sustainability curriculum.