AN extremely rare moth has been discovered near Rimrose Valley Country Park by two insect experts.
The small ranunculus, also known as hecatera dysodea, was found in Seaforth less than 500 metres away from the park by Michael O’Hare and John Lloyd.
Although the pair are unable to prove it just yet, they have suspicions that the rare insect could have come from Rimrose Valley, which is sure to be of interest to local campaign group Save Rimrose Valley, who are fighting to save the park from plans to build a road.
Michael said: “It is great to have found this beautiful and rare moth here. Its presence is of local and national importance and a boost to local conservation efforts.”
Michael is a keen lepidopterist, which is a person who studies or collects butterflies and moths, and John investigates insect problems around the world as a job and in the last four years has visited 22 countries.
The pair recently met up to carry out a ‘moth trap’ exercise when they discovered two of the small ranunculus. The moth is so rare it was previously extinct in the UK!
The insect used to be widespread in the south and east of England but mysteriously declined in 1912.
The species became extinct in the UK but re-appeared in Kent in 2002. It is now slowly re-colonising, with localised colonies becoming established around the UK.
Insects are important indicators of changes in the environment, and John and Michael believe that the presence of the small ranunculus moths in Seaforth signals the presence of a healthy natural environment.
They also believe it highlights the importance of maintaining green space areas such as gardens and parklands within the area.
John added: “The presence of these moths is significant because it shows how important the green space areas are in supporting local wildlife in Seaforth and surrounding areas.”