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Rannoch Brindled Beauty Lycia lapponaria in Glen Moriston

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Rannoch Brindled Beauty, male (Photo by Jane Bowman)

Rannoch Brindled Beauty Male

Rannoch Brindled Beauty, female (Photo by Jane Bowman)

Rannoch Brindled Beauty Female

Rannoch Brindled Beauty pairing (Photo by Jane Bowman)

Rannoch Brindled Beauty Mating pair

Ringed Carpet moth (photo by Jane Bowman

Ringed Carpet

These photographs were submitted by Jane Bowman, who has found this scarce and local species at two locations in Glen Moriston.

Jane first recorded the Rannoch Brindled Beauty in Glen Moriston in 2007, and was therefore keen to record their appearance this year.

At the beginning of April, she sent us this description of her first sightings of 2008:

"The moths were at 300m and above at both locations, resting on posts. The ground was very wet, boggy in places with cross-leaved heath in abundance and heather to a lesser extent. There was no sign of them
on the lower ground where bog myrtle was prevalent. Both locations are above a substantial burn.

The moths were low down on the posts, apart from a solitary female who was delicately walking backwards down the post. Whether this was to lay eggs or seek shelter from the cold wind, I can only guess! Even the mating pair was close to vegetation - on a broken post about half a metre high."

Jane contacted us again with these further observations:

"Out on 18th April at one of the Glen Moriston Rannoch Brindled Beauty sites, and noticed that the fenceposts had predominantly females on them.

"One of the females was in a very hunched position unlike any others I had seen, so had a closer look and she appeared to be egg laying. I marked the post and will return next week to see if I can find the eggs, though with all the lichen it's going to be tricky."

Female Rannoch Brindled Beauty (photo by Jane Bowman)

Writing on 22nd April, Jane reports:

"Re-visited the post the female egg-laying, and was disappointed that the area of lichen involved - about a square inch - had been stripped off presumably by an insect or bird, and no sign of any eggs. The female was still there, presume the same one, but despite my disappointment was excited to see a Ringed Carpet (Na) at the base of the post! Two Na species on the same old post was very special. I do get these in my garden moth trap, but finding them "in the wild" is much more exciting. See photo of Ringed Carpet on left of page.

"On Sunday (20th April) I visited the other R B Beauty site in Glen Moriston - no males but a total of 15 females over a mile stretch of fenceposts. Half of these were egg laying (see phot above). Numbers much lower than last year when in a 300m stretch there was an average of 5 male and female moths per post."

The Rannoch Brindled Beauty is a moorland species restricted to the central Highlands.

Adults appear from late March to early May, depending on the altitude and seasonal conditions, and may be found resting on moorland fenceposts during the day.

The female is furry and wingless.

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