Glasgow & SW Scotland Butterflies

Glasgow & SW Scotland Branch Website

April 13, 2011

Kentish Glory Surveys at Loch Rannoch in 2012

Filed under: Butterflies — Andrew Masterman @ 3:01 pm
LIGHT TRAPPING 2012: three nights of light trapping for Kentish Glory at Loch Rannoch have been organised for Thur 3 May, Fri 4 May and Sat 5 May with myself and two other volunteers currently attending. As there are a number of sites to check out around Loch Rannoch and some around Loch Tummel, more volunteers, preferably with light traps are required. However, volunteers without light traps can do daytime searches for adult Kentish Glory and egg batches and searches for Netted Mountain Moth and Small Dark Yellow Underwing are alternative daytime activities. If you would like to get involved, please email
Kentish Glory is classified as Nationally Scarce A being only found in Scotland in the Rannoch area, south Aberdeenshire, on Speyside and on the Morayshire coast.
Distribution of Kentish Glory in Scotland.
Distribution of Kentish Glory in Scotland.
Kentish Glory is a  large and spectacular  moth with a very attractive combination of white and chocolate brown markings and the sexes show marked sexual dimorphism with females being much larger than the males
Pair of Kentish Glory.  Credit John Knowler
Pair of Kentish Glory. Credit John Knowler
The larval foodplant of Kentish Glory is Silver Birch although Downy Birch and Alder are sometimes used (Waring et al., 2003). Alder feeding larvae in Britain have been found in the Rannoch area and in Glen Tanar on Deeside (Heath and Emmett, 1983a) although, on the continent, Alder is one of a list of species Kentish Glory larvae may feed on (Pelham-Clinton, 1982; Shaw, 1989). In 1982, Pelham-Clinton stated, “it would be interesting to know whether the Kentish Glory ever fed on Birch at Rannoch” which suggests he was unaware of the 1966 Kentish Glory record by the late Michael Majerus at North Rannoch which is an area of Birch scrub.  Shaw (1989) later reported that he beat two Kentish Glory larvae from Silver Birch about 1 km north-west of Tummel Bridge in July 1988 and some other more recent records are also from areas of birch scrub. So there is now firm evidence that Kentish Glory in the Rannoch area does use Silver Birch and there have been no records of Alder-feeding larvae since 1939 (Pelham-Clinton, 1982). But surveyors who look for Kentish Glory in the Rannoch area should be aware that Alder may be used as a larval foodplant.
The habitat of Kentish Glory is lightly wooded moorland where the birch scrub is no more than 1 - 3m tall as shown in the photograph below:
Kentish Glory habitat at Drumcroy Hill
Kentish Glory habitat at Drumcroy Hill
Butterfly Conservation commissioned survey work in 2010 on rare moths in the Rannoch area  as part of the Moths Count project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and many other partner organisations. The results for Kentish Glory are discussed below.
Three historical sites, Killiekrankie, Tummel Bridge and North Rannoch were visited during the daytime on three occasions (North Rannoch only once) when adults were searched for and also egg batches which are quite conspicuous. Unfortunately, neither adults nor eggs were found at any of these three historical sites.
Kentish Glory eggs on birch.  Credit:  John Knowler
Kentish Glory eggs on birch. Credit: John Knowler
However, on Drumcroy hill a few km west of the Tummel Bridge site and about 1 km away from one of the 1939 larval records from Alder, six large brown moths were seen in flight in the vicinity of NN724618 in which there was a lot of birch scrub 1-3m high. As none were seen at rest, they can only be designated as probable sightings but two were seen fairly close-up and the characteristic prominent white cross-lines were seen. But both Fox Moth and Emperor moth are large brown moths which fly during May in the same habitat as Kentish Glory so caution is appropriate when the moths are only seen in flight.
The map below shows Drumcroy Hill and the probable sightings of Kentish Glory in 2010 together with a shaded area which denotes a large area with patches of birch scrub 1-3 m high. Permission to use light traps has been granted by the landowner so light trapping here is planned during early May 2011. As this is a large area to cover, any volunteers who would like bring along their light traps to help out would be greatly appreciated.
Kentish Glory at Drumcroy Hill
Kentish Glory at Drumcroy Hill
There are also three large areas with suitable habitat around Loch Rannoch which also need to be searched for Kentish Glory but permission for light trapping has only been granted for one of these, the Finnart area at the SW corner of Loch Rannoch. These three other areas are shown on the map below and daytime searches for adults and eggs could be done.
Kentish Glory habitat around Loch Rannoch
Kentish Glory habitat around Loch Rannoch
It is quite possible that Kentish Glory is present in quite a number of 1 km squares around Lochs Rannoch and  Tummel but records are few and far between. As a consequence, there have been concerns that Kentish Glory may be in decline in the Rannoch area but these concerns are probably unfounded.
The flight period of Kentish Glory is late April to mid-May. Kentish Glory is not an easy species to record and the Rannoch area is rather remote so under-recording is the most likely cause of the lack of records. It is very encouraging that some old serendipitous records of Kentish Glory being  found resting on building walls, presumably having been attracted by light overnight, have surfaced in 2011 for new 1 km squares: Killiekrankie NN915600 from 1987; Tummel Bridge NN810598 in 1996 & NN770589 in 2000.  This strongly suggests that Kentish Glory is alive and well in the Rannoch area and is possibly quite widespread. But this hypothesis needs testing via more recording in 2011, preferably using light traps as daytime searches are less efficient. If you would like to get involved in recording Kentish Glory in the Rannoch area in late April/early May 2011, please email  
Accommodation options in the area include budget rooms at the MacDonald Loch Rannoch Hotel from £68 mid-week or there are some wild camping spots around Loch Rannoch or on the south side of Loch Tummel and there is the Kilvrecht Forestry Commission campsite on the south side of Loch Rannoch which has toilets but no showers/hot water for £6 per person per night - no lights in the toilets too so you need a head torch!
Current plans for trapping are Easter Sunday/Monday and the following weekend 30 Apr/ 1May.
Heath, J. and Emmett, A. M. 1983a. The moths and butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland. Vol 7(2). Harley Books.
Pelham-Clinton, E. C 1982. The Kentish Glory Moth, Endromis versicolara (L.) at Rannoch. Entomologists Record and Journal of Variation, 94, 215-216.
Shaw, M. R. 1989. The Kentish Glory Moth, Endromis versicolara (L.) (Lep: Endromidae), at Rannoch. Entomologists Record and Journal of Variation, 101, 45-46.
Waring, P.,Townsend, M. and Lewington, R. 2003. Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland. British Wildlife Publishing.

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