Glasgow & SW Scotland Butterflies

Glasgow & SW Scotland Branch Website

February 7, 2010

Moth Records for VC98 Argyll Main

Filed under: Moths — Tags: , , — Andrew Masterman @ 11:04 am

Vice County 98 covers Argyll south of Loch Leven and north of the Crinan Canal near Lochgilphead, the Cowal peninsular and Glencoe, most of Rannoch Moor and the islands of Lismore and Kerrera.

As of February 2010, there are 22958 Macro-moth records in the VC98 database relating to 331 species. Eighty-six per cent of these records relate to the Glencoe Rothamsted trap at the National Trust for Scotland visitor centre. The Rothamsted Light Trap at Glencoe is part of a UK wide network of 80 traps run by the Rothamsted Insect Survey since 1968.  The Glencoe trap has been in operation since 1996 and the addition of the data from this trap added many new species to the VC98 database. There were 62 new species which are classified as common species. There were a further 28 species which have much more local distributions and are interesting records.

As of February 2010, there are 191 Micro-moth records in the VC98 database relating to 62 species.

Six UK BAP Macro-moth species are present in the VC98 database.

Barred Tooth-striped  (Trichopteryx polycommata) has 27 records relating to five sites in north Argyll. This moth has very localised scattered distributions in Scotland and England with the majority of Scottish records in Argyll.  It flies early in the year in March April and comes to light traps. The larvae feed on Ash or Privet and it overwinters as a pupa. In Argyll, it has been recorded at Creagan Wood and Glasdrum NNR on the north side of Loch Creran, on the south side of Loch Creran at Barcaldine and also at Glen Nant NNR. There is also one record at the Glencoe RIS trap. These are all deciduous woodland sites but in southern England, it is associated with open scrub on chalk downs and with some limestone sites south of Cumbria.

Barred Toothed-striped

Barred Toothed-striped

Argent and Sable  (Rheumaptera hastata) has 16 records relating to 12 sites in north and central Argyll. This is a day-flying moth on the wing in May and June and the caterpillars feed on bog myrtle and birch and it overwinters as a pupa. There are three sub-species in the UK with hastata hastata occurring in England and southern Scotland as far north as southern Argyll, a smaller and darker form,  f. nigrescens found in the Hebrides and the far NW of Scotland and a third sub-spp hastata f. laxata which occurs in Argyll and other parts of the southern Highlands.


Argent & Sable   Credit: John Knowler

Argent & Sable Credit: John Knowler

Square-spotted Clay  (Xestia rhomboidea) is an ex-UK BAP species and has 15 records relating to 4 sites in north and west Argyll. This is a rare species in Scotland with most records from Argyll although it is much more common in southern England. If flies in late July and August and comes to light. There is some uncertainty about which plants the caterpillars feed on but birch and bramble are likely examples of a range of plants which can be used. It overwinters as a small caterpillar. The habitat is deciduous woodland and in Argyll, it has been recorded at Glasdrum Wood and Glasdrum NNR, Glen Nant NNR and Taynish NNR all of which have mature decidious woodland and also around the Loch Melfort area.

Square-spotted Clay

Square-spotted Clay


Forester (Adscita statices) has 22 records relating to 8 sites on the west coast of Argyll. It is a day-flying moth which is a joy to see with its bright emerald shiny wings. Its caterpillars feed on Common Sorrel and Sheep’s Sorrel and its habitat in Scotland is sunny sheltered  areas with some bracken in coastal parts of Argyll.




Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth  (Hemaris tityus) has 50 records relating to 24 sites mostly in north Argyll but there is one for the southern tip of Bute in the south of Argyll. This is an amazing day-flying moth found during late May and June in the same areas as Marsh Fritillary. This is no co-incidence as they both have the same foodplant, Devil’s Bit Scabious and the same flight period so it is possible to see both these rare species of Lepidoptera at the same site on the same day! The habitat of both these species is low lying flat  damp grassland, sometimes a more heathy type habitat,  with abundant Devil’s Bit Scabious but the bottom of slopes which also tend to be damp may also provide good habitat.

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth     Credit: Phil Holt

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth Credit: Phil Holt


Transparent Burnet (Zygaena purpuralis) has 25 records relating to six sites near Oban. The strongholds of this amazing moth are the Hebridean islands of Mull, Skye, Ulva, Eigg, Canna, and Rhum and the only records on the mainland are around Oban and also in parts of Kintyre. It was seen on the islands of Kerrera and Lismore in 1960 but there are no recent records. The adults are day-flying in warm sunshine from early June to July and the caterpillars feed on wild thyme. It overwinters as a caterpillar. Its habitat is steep, heathy and grassy south and south-west facing slopes and under-cliffs near the coast.


Transparent Burnet    Credit:  Neil Gregory

Transparent Burnet Credit: Neil Gregory

Andrew Masterman
VC98 Moth Recorder

Related posts:

  1. Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth Surveys in Argyll 2010 Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth  (Hemaris tityus) has 50 Argyll records relating...
  2. Forester Moth Surveys in Argyll in 2010 Forester (Adscita statices) is one of the Burnet moths but...
  3. Transparent Burnet Surveys in Argyll in 2010 Transparent Burnet (Zygaena purpuralis) like the other burnet moths is...

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    Comment by Frank Dynes — July 4, 2010 @ 10:50 am


    Comment by Frank Dynes — July 4, 2010 @ 10:53 am

  3. I find your discriptions massively helpful in order to get a clue about these rare insects.

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  5. Transparent burnet moth seen west side of Isle of Muck 9 Jul 2012 (one dead specimen seen and able to identify via photograph and also one live specimen seen)

    Comment by Anne White — July 16, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  6. I found a cinnabar moth in my back garden today 13/06/2014. Thought it was dead as it did not move for a while then I realized its anteni were moving so I put it back
    outside and will see if it flew away. Slowly it is coming back to life….it is 6pm and I live in Innellan by Dunoon Argyll.

    Comment by Fiona Campbell — June 13, 2014 @ 5:27 pm

  7. Thanks Fiona for the record.

    Comment by Andrew Masterman — June 13, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

  8. Hi Phil, Met you down by the river today Im the butterfly guy. Just seen your Burnished Brass phtoos .incredible! Nice work. Your Burnets are well set off on those Orchids, wish I had, had some time to photograph the Pyramids .just superb. Those Burnets are Narrow Bordered Five Spots, not Six .which just adds something else to the phtoos well done.Iain.

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