Thursday, April 29, 2010

New British Moth Species

Amateur naturalists found a new species of moth in the U.K.

The 3mm-long micro moth, which lives in Hembury Woods in Devon, was recognised as a new species this year.

This week, the biologist who discovered it is presenting the Natural History Museum of London with one of the first known specimens.

The receipt of this "type" specimen will mark the official acceptance of the moth's existence in the country.

The tiny micro moth, which has a wingspan of just 6mm, was first spotted in 2004.

At that time, amateur naturalist Bob Heckford sighted the unusual bright green caterpillars of this tiny leaf-mining moth on oak saplings within Hembury Woods, a site managed by the National Trust.

In January this year, the moth was officially recognised in the journal Zookeys as a new species, named Ectoedemia heckfordi after its discoverer.

It is not known to live outside of the UK.
This must have been a very exciting find for Heckford. Zookeys is an open access journal, and the issue describing this species (and a few others) is available as a pdf download. Its host plants are Sessile Oak and English Oak.