Rare moths light up night

South East Water's Richard Dyer with Ecological Trainer Simon Curson SUS-140110-114439001
South East Water's Richard Dyer with Ecological Trainer Simon Curson SUS-140110-114439001

Rare chalk grassland moths have found themselves a haven at South East Water’s Deep Dean Water Treatment Works in East Sussex, where a recent environmental survey has recorded results beyond expectations.

Reserchers used ultraviolet lights to attract the insects the latest overnight survey on Thursday September 11.

They recorded species such as the Mullein Wave and White-point.

There were also reports of the Pale Eggar moth in the area which is scarce in the south of England.

The September survey counted 26 species of moth in the area and 134 individual moths, before releasing them back into the vegetation unharmed.

An earlier survey in the summer recorded 49 species and confirmed that Deep Dean is home to the scarce Chalk Carpet moth and Sussex’s only known colony of the moth Mycena flavalis.

Richard Dyer, senior environmental officer at South East Water, said, “We have been actively involved with the site for 18 years.

“Working with Natural England we can ensure the site is managed appropriately, protecting and enhancing the area’s wildlife.

“Deep Dean is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and we work extremely hard managing the site to ensure a diverse range of chalk grassland species are able to thrive.

“The results of surveys this year suggest our many years of hard work have been worthwhile with a number of rare 
butterfly and moth species being found which only survive on 
good quality chalk grassland.”

The surveys, which are carried out over the summer months, check the company is continuing to manage the land correctly.

It is also useful to see if there are any rare species which need to be considered further when planning management of the site.

For more on the work of South East Water at the site, visit www.southeastwater.co.uk