Rare moth spotted in Scotland for the first time in 'exciting' discovery

The unfamiliar species was first identified at Cathkin March Wildlife Reserve near Glasgow.

Rare sallow-shoot piercer moth discovered in Scotland for the first time at Cathkin Marsh near Glasgow Patrick Clement

A species of moth has been recorded in Scotland for the first time in an “exciting” discovery.

The sallow-shoot piercer moth (Cydia servillana) was spotted perched on a nettle at the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Cathkin Marsh Wildlife Reserve near Glasgow by regular visitor Bill Higgins.

He was initially dumbfounded by the species, unable to identify it in books and websites – but when he approached expert Dr Mark Young on an online forum, the mystery was solved.

“Mark said he had a good idea of was the moth was, and suggested I refer to a publication about the tortix moth family and come back with an identification”, said Bill.

“I then told him what I thought it was, bearing in mind that it had never been recorded in Scotland before”, he continued.

“I was delighted when Mark agreed with my identification and confirmed that I had the privilege of being the first to record the moth on this side of the border.”

The moth is one of thousands of species in the family of tortrix moths. There are currently just 29 records of the sallow-shoot piercer moth on the National Biodiversity Network Atlas – and none are north of Birmingham.

Bill added: “I’m thrilled about my find, even though luck determined that I was there when the moth alighted on a nettle. Another few minutes either way and it may not have been there at all.”

Cathkin Marsh Wildlife Reserve is home to many birds including snipe, water rail and reed bunting, as well as many species of butterflies and dragonflies.

The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Billy Gray said: “Bill’s exciting discovery shows there is lots we don’t know about Scotland’s wildlife. It’s likely that this species of moth has been in Scotland for some time and has simply gone unseen or unnoticed.

“Much of what we do know about wildlife is thanks to a small army of citizen scientists who record and report what they see. It’s incredibly useful to receive information about what people see on our wildlife reserves and there’s information on the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s website for anyone who’d like to get involved.”

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