Rose plume moth rediscovered at Danemead

Rose Plume Moth © Graeme Smith

A rare rose plume moth has been discovered at Danemead Nature Reserve.

In June the rare rose plume moth Cnaemidophorus rhododactyla was discovered at Danemead Nature Reserve during a Herts Moth Group recording event led by Steve Easby and Graeme Smith.

Steve spotted the moth and was delighted as it was listed as "probably extinct" in Hertfordshire in the last full review of Hertfordshire's moths (2008). The species was last noted in 1977 at Danemead so it is fitting that it was found in the same area.

Unlike 40 years ago, we now have a wealth of data on the county's moth fauna and a full two-way cooperation and exchange of data between the Herts Moth Group and Herts Environmental Record Centre (HERC). HERC is hosted by the Trust and manages information on habitats, species and sites across the county; invaluable information which guides wildlife conservation across Trust reserves.

Colin Plant, the official County Moth Recorder for Hertfordshire said:

"This is an enormously important find and suggests that a small population has been desperately hanging on in the Broxbourne Woods complex for the past 40 years. The caterpillars are associated with long established plants of Wild Rose and Dog Rose Rosa spp. They do not thrive on garden roses and so pose no threat at all to horticulture.  Unfortunately, essential work during the late 1970s to remove trees in order to maintain enhance the woodland clearings at Danemead was undertaken rather over-enthusiastically and, probably not helped by the poor knowledge of the county's moths at that date, all of the wild rose plants were grubbed up and burned". 

The Trust's management plan for Danemead is currently under review and the needs of the Rose Plume will be incorporated to try and ensure its habitat needs continue to be met.