Figure of Eight Moth

Over a weekend in October 2011, the Causeway Coast and Glens Council Cluster Biodiversity Officer in partnership with Butterfly Conservation NI, conducted a survey of the winter moths in Castlerock. The result of which was a rare find, the ‘Figure of Eight moth’, one of Northern Ireland’s priority species, was discovered on The Moors within Castlerock during the moth survey.

The ‘Figure of Eight’ moth is a Northern Ireland Priority Species and is classed as scarce, it has only been recently recorded in scattered localities around Lough Neagh and Upper Lough Erne. It was last recorded in Banagher Glen in 1970 and Magilligan in the 19th Century so it is a significant record for the Borough of Coleraine.

To investigate and understand more about this moth, humane moth traps were assembled in several locations and members of the public were invited to take part in the initiative.

The moth survey in Castlerock was a huge success and we were thrilled to find a ‘Figure of Eight moth’ on The Moors. This is a significant discovery which highlights the importance of this site for our local wildlife. This species has declined in Britain by 95% between 1968 and 2002 so it is equally thrilling to have found it on the causeway coast. This moth only flies in September and you can only see it and record it by using humane moth traps.

By the autumn most people have put their moth traps away for the winter, but there are still a host of species to be seen, many of which are really under recorded.  The Moors is a brilliant site and we are quite sure we will find lots more important species living here in the coming years.

Moths can be found flying all year round and the technique of moth trapping does not harm the moth in any way. All moths were released back into their natural habitat.