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Rare moth makes a welcome first appearance at Inverewe Gardens

Scallop shell moth.
Scallop shell moth.

It draws visitors from all over the world but now the National Trust for Scotland’s famous Inverewe Garden has attracted a very special caller – a scallop shell moth.

Rare to Scotland, the moth has been found for the first time on the 54-acre Wester Ross property which is a haven for a host of other wildlife.

The moth is so named because of the thin, zig-zagging lines across its wings, resembling those on a scallop shell.

Since 1970, the species has only been spotted in Scotland twice, once back in 2016 and then again in 2020.

With each sighting, the scallop shell moth has moved further north from Edinburgh to Wester Ross, which is believed to be due to climate change.

Four scallop shell moths were spotted in Gairloch last year and five have been spotted so far this year, including the first in Inverewe Garden.

This particular species of moth seems to favour damp woodland and scrub environment which is what may have attracted it to its latest home.

Dr Barry Blake.

‘Fascinating’ to see new species enjoying Inverewe

Local biologist and county moth recorder Barry Blake was the first to identify the rare species upon its arrival to Inverewe.He has been working with the National Trust for Scotland since 2011, conducting surveys and learning about the importance of Inverewe to moth conservation.

Martin Hughes, operations manager at Inverewe and Corrieshalloch Gorge, said: “It’s fascinating to see new species discover the wonderful diverse habitat that is Inverewe.

“A huge thank you to Barry Blake for his hard work and diligence. Recording changes in the habitat at Inverewe is invaluable as we face the challenges of climate change.”

Inverewe Garden is a 54-acre wildlife haven.

The estate’s diversity landscape draws in a wide variety of moth, including rare varieties such as the coast dart, anomalous and garden tiger.

Garden tiger moth.

The overall abundance of moths across the UK has decreased by a third in the last 50 years.

Given their vital role in pollination, this is a cause for concern.

Experts hope that the varied and well-managed habitats of areas like Inverewe Garden will help to attract all species of moth, making it easier for their movements and numbers to be monitored.

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