Journal Of Insect Conservation

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 173-183

First online:

Conservation management of Gortyna borelii lunata (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in the United Kingdom

  • Zoe RingwoodAffiliated withFaculty of Science, Writtle College Email author 
  • , Julian HillAffiliated withFaculty of Science, Writtle College
  • , Chris GibsonAffiliated withEnglish Nature

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Gortyna borelii lunata is a rare species of moth with a widespread, but localised distribution in Europe. In Britain, the moth is restricted to coastal grassland habitats that support its larval foodplant (Peucedanum officinale), in the southeast of England.Threats to G. borelii lunata in Britain include inappropriate management and sea-level rise. This study investigates how to secure the future of the moth in Britain by managing existing colonies appropriately and determining whether translocations of the species, away from the dangers of flooding, would be feasible. A mowing experiment and a translocation trial were conducted. Results from the mowing experiment indicate that cutting annually in either August or November is detrimental to the abundance of the moth. It is recommended that where sites must be mown this be performed on rotation, leaving much of the site uncut each year. The translocation of the moth and its foodplant to a site away from the threats of flooding was very successful, demonstrating that the species establishes well and can survive on higher ground. It is concluded that to secure the future of the moth in Britain, a sustainable network of interconnected sites for the species should be created. Also, an appropriate management plan should be formulated for each site.


Conservation management Gortyna borelii lunata Mowing Sea-level rise Translocation