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Holtspur Bottom Butterfly Reserve

Moths and other insects

Striped Lychnis moth caterpillar

Caterpillar of the Striped Lychnis moth, feeding on Dark Mullein (Verbascum nigrum) at Holtspur Bottom. With luck, you may see one in August on the reserve. This is just one of the nationally scarce moths to be found at Holtspur. It is a priority species on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan which is rarely seen in the adult form because, unlike most moths, it is not readily attracted to light. Populations of this moth are surveyed aprroximately every five years in Buckinghamshire. The Striped Lychnis 2010 report and the Striped Lychnis 2005 report are available online.

Up until the end of 2014, well over 500 moth species had been recorded at Holtspur Bottom, including several classified as "Nationally Scarce". While the majority of the moths recorded were common and widespread species, it was very pleasing to see that many chalk down-land specialists have succeeded in finding the reserve which only 15 years ago was part agricultural grazing land and part waste tip!

pdf iconThe complete list of moths recorded at Holtspur Bottom from 1998 to 2014 is available in pdf format. Note that the micro-moths mostly don't have a 'vernacular' name, and are normally only referred to by their scientific names.

There are also reports on moths recorded at Holtspur Bottom on the Upper Thames moth blog.

Shown below, three moths found at Holtspur Bottom recently. From left to right: Mocha, Campion, and Maple Prominent. (All copyright Dave Wilton.)

Mocha moth Campion moth Maple Prominent moth


Day-flying moths
As well as butterflies, there are a number of day-flying moths you may encounter at Holtspur Bottom, including the relatively common Six-spot Burnet moth and Cinnabar moth.

Andrena hattorfiana, a rare mining bee

Other insects
As well as butterflies and moths, many other insects have been recorded on the reserve. Some of these, such as Andrena hattorfiana, (see photo on right by Aaron Woods) a mining bee, are classified as rare, and listed in the "Red Data Book". Look for it between June and mid-August. Another mining bee that can be found at Holtspur Bottom, Lasioglossum pauxillum, is classified as nationally scarce. The females fly from mid April to late September, males from July to October.

The Dark Bush Cricket (Pholidoptera griseoaptera) (the adults appear in late June to early July and survive until winter), and Roesel's Bush Cricket (Metrioptera roeselii) (the adults appear from late July and survive until autumn) have both been seen here.

The population of Wasp spiders (Argiope bruennichi) seems to be steadily increasing on our reserve. They are a large, colourful spider that is a relatively recent arrival in the UK from the continent and it is slowly spreading over the south of England. The first report at Holtspur Bottom was in 2012, while in 2014 we had at least four reported sightings from various parts of the reserve.

There also a number of beetles and other invertebrates at Holtspur Bottom, including the relatively common Rhagonycha fulva, also known as the Hogweed Bonking beetle.

pdf iconAlthough the records for other invertebrates on our reserve are incomplete, Martin Harvey has kindly supplied his own records for the site.

pdf iconSpecies list for beetles at Holtspur Bottom (2014), collected by Lloyd Garvey.


You may also be interested in:
pdf iconA review of the invertebrates associated with lowland calcareous grassland. English Nature report.



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