Brighton wainscot moth believed to have become extinct

Posted On 03 Feb 2013 at 2:05 pm

A moth first found in the Brighton area is among three or four British species believed to have become extinct in the past ten years.

The Brighton wainscot, or oria musculosa, was first spotted in the Brighton area in the late 19th century.

The moth, which had a wingspan of just over an inch, was later sighted in corn fields in Wiltshire and neighbouring counties.

But a national organisation, Butterfly Conservation, said in its report The State of Britain’s Larger Moths 2013: “In addition to 62 moth species that became extinct in Britain during the 20th century, a further four species may now be extinct here – orange upperwing, bordered gothic, Brighton wainscot and, possibly, stout dart.”

The report said that moths “play vital roles in the functioning of ecosystems both as important components of the food chain and as plant pollinators”.

But it added: “Across Britain, the total abundance of larger moths declined significantly, by 28 per cent, during the 40-year period from 1968 to 2007.

“In the southern half of Britain, total counts of larger moths decreased significantly, by 40 per cent.

“In contrast, this century, more than 100 moth species have been recorded for the first time in Britain and 27 moth species are considered to have colonised Britain from the year 2000 onwards. Immigration also appears to be increasing.

“The causes of change among Britain’s moths are not yet fully understood.

“Habitat changes, especially those related to agricultural intensification, changing woodland management and urbanisation, appear to have had substantial, largely negative impacts on moths.

“Climate change, on the other hand, seems to have had both positive and negative effects.”

The report added: “A focus on threatened moth species, while essential to prevent further loss of biodiversity, is not enough.

“Pervasive environmental degradation and the decline of common species demand the recreation of a rural and urban landscape that is much more hospitable to biodiversity.

“Carefully targeted and properly resourced agri-environment and woodland management schemes would be a significant step towards repairing Britain’s natural heritage and safeguarding the ecosystem services that underpin human welfare.”


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