Wildlife Watch – The Striped Lychnis moth at Butser

Over the years Butser Ancient farm has become a site of great environmental importance. Situated amongst forests and fields, with our ancient farming methods and wild hedgerows we have attracted various wildlife and rare species.

One of these rare species being the Striped Lychnis moth which has increased in number greatly over the past few years in particular due to our Dark Mullein, a tall wild flowering perennial plant, with yellow flowers and purple stamen.

Dark Mullein Flowers

Dark Mullein Flowers

The striking caterpillars feed on the yellow flowers and can be found throughout July and August.  The fully grown larvae crawl off and find a safe place to pupate in the ground nearby and emerge the following spring.

7 Striped Lychnis larvae were found at Butser Ancient Farm in 2017 and there were 78 in July 2018 so let’s see if we can keep this upward trend going!

Striped Lychnis Moth caterpillar

Striped Lychnis Moth caterpillar

If you have a passion for wildlife and want to encourage Striped Lychid moths into your garden follow these tips!

  1. Do not cut Dark Mullein plants between May and September.
  2. Leave unmanaged areas for wild flowers to flourish
  3. Disturb the soil periodically or cut areas in the winter to stop them getting overgrown.
  4. Shake seed out from the old flowers in the autumn or winter.

If you live locally to the site you could collect seed with permission and grow it in your garden, visit the Butterfly Conservation website  or contact Fiona at Butterfly Conservation for more advice;  fhaynes@butterfly-conservation.org

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