Rare clearwing moth found in Staffordshire nature reserve for first time

Welsh Clearwing moth Credit: Rory Middleton

A rare moth has been found at a nature reserve in Staffordshire after it was declared extinct to the area.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust is celebrating the discovery of Welsh Clearwing moths after an entomologist, an insect scientist, reported signs of them emerging from a tree.

The Welsh Clearwing moth is typically found in hilly and wooded areas, predominately in Wales.

They have previously been found at Sherwood Forest and Cannock Chase, but until now, they haven't been spotted anywhere else in Staffordshire.

Rory Middleton, an Ecological Record Manager, said: "This is a really exciting find as these moths are incredibly rare and were extinct from Staffordshire not so long ago.

"Prior to this year’s discovery we knew of low numbers at limited sites, so to see increased distribution is great.

"This doesn’t however mean their numbers are increasing," he warned.

"We will need to monitor them carefully over coming weeks to establish if their abundancy is increasing too."

The discovery comes during National Insect Week where insects are celebrated and highlighted for the work they do for our environment.

Facts about Welsh Clearwing moths

  • Welsh clear-wing moths lay their eggs in old birch trees, where they develop a pupae, a chrysalis, to transform into caterpillars which will feed on tree bark for several years.

  • Once the adult moths emerge from their pupal cocoon under the bark they make a 5mm hole. 

  • The moth fly in the day, particularly with sunny weather, but are very rarely seen.