First sighting in Scotland of sallow-shoot piercer moth - Scottish Wildlife Trust

A species of moth has been recorded in Scotland for the first time.

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.

side view of a moth with folded wings, the head and tail ends are a dusty charcoal grey, the middle section is a white / pale grey. The moth is sitting on greyish-green coloured twig
Sallow-shoot piercer moth © Patrick Dlement

There are currently just 29 records of the sallow-shoot piercer moth on the National Biodiversity Network Atlas and none north of Birmingham. However, the species is likely to be under-recorded.

The sighting came when Bill Higgins spotted an unfamiliar moth during a visit to Cathkin Marsh Wildlife Reserve. He was initially unable to identify it by consulting books and websites but the mystery was solved when he reached expert Dr Mark Young through an online forum.

Bill Higgins said: “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.”

Billy Gray, the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s West Central Reserves Manager 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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Posted On: 22/07/2022

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