Rare immigrant .
In the early part of the 19th century, this was a common species in East Anglia but by about 1900 had become extinct as a breeding species.
Since 1995 the species has been established in small numbers in a few sites in southern England and is cropping up in a number of different areas in the south-east and south-west.
Barrett [VCH, 1901]
Mr. John Curtis writes thus (British Entomology, 16, 1839) : 'It is not easy to conceive the delight I experienced when a boy on finding the locality for the " Gypsy moth." After a long walk I arrived at the extensive marshes of Horning in Norfolk, having no other guide to the spot than the Myrica gale, and on finding the beds of that shrub, which grows freely there, the gaily-coloured caterpillars first caught my sight. They were in every stage of growth, some being as thick as swan's quills. I also soon discovered the moths, which are so
different in colour as to make a tyro doubt their being partners. The large loose cocoons were also very visible, and on a diligent search I found bundles of eggs covered with the fine down from the abdomen of the female. With eggs, caterpillars, chrysalides and moths I speedily returned, enjoying unmixed delight in my newly-gained acquisitions.' Now, although Myrica gale still flourishes in abundanie at Horning there is no trace of the moth, and no evidence exists as to the date or means of its extinction. The Rev. T. H. Marsh however records its existence further west, at Cawston, not uncommonly, till 1861. Since that date it has apparently never been seen in Norfoik ; and except in most rare and casual instances not within the British Isles.
First modern-day record of a male trapped at North Creake VC28 in 2016 (A. Culshaw)
(Recorded in VC25 (Suffolk) at Herringfleet Hills in 2015)
|Retained Specimen / Photograph will be Required. |
Recorded in 11 (16%) of 69 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1825.
Last Recorded in 2020.