Save Danes Moss

Public event in August 2023 showing the hidden diversity of moths that live on Danes Moss
Moth surveying on Danes Moss

A great time was had by all at the Danes Moss moth event last weekend. Kind weather conditions resulted in large numbers of moths being on the wing, and between Saturday night and Sunday morning we recorded more than 80 different species of moths.

On Sunday morning we were able to take the visiting group to the traps – the moths sleeping, but soon to be released to continue their day – and open up to find what lay within. The perfect start to the event was the Old Lady moth that was outside one of the traps and greeted us by then settling on two sets of trouser legs, in turn! This very striking moth is one of the larger species we will encounter in the region, yet, with its nocturnal habits, will have been seen by few, so created an impressive opening.

Old Lady moth on Danes Moss
Old Lady moth, they can have a winspan of 6.5cm!

We had also put lots into pots the night before, to be on the safe side, and were able to admire the large, the small, the colourful and the less-so. We examined the tiniest micro moths, only a few millimetres long, some of which earlier spent time as a caterpillar feeding inside a leaf, and the generally larger macro moths, with such names as Blue-bordered Carpet, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Sallow Kitten, Dingy Footman, Ruby Tiger, Setaceous Hebrew Character and Antler Moth. And some non-moth visitors too, like ichneumon wasps, beetles and harvestmen.

Over 150 observations were recorded of over 100 different species of wildlife, we even had a frog jumping past us wanting to join in with the fun!

All observations can be found here: August Moth Observations

Ruby Tiger Moth on Danes Moss
Ruby Tiger
Canary Souldered Thorn Moth on Danes Moss
Canary Shouldered Thron
Sallow Kitten Moth on Danes Moss
Sallow Kitten

We went through the life cycle and habits of moths, and how important the Danes Moss North Local Wildlife Site (known prosaically to the planners and developers as the South Macclesfield Development Area) is for biodiversity. In just over a year we have now recorded around 380 different species of moths on the site, which is incredible but reflects the mosaic of high-value habitats present and highlights just why the site needs protection in these times of biodiversity crisis. Some of them are very unusual in Cheshire, and in one case has never actually been found in the county before. Some have a degree of protection and so are very important when it comes to the environmental consideration of planning applications. But all are wonders in their own right and it was a pleasure to be able to enjoy them in the company of a great group of people. 

Learning about moths on Danes Moss
Learning about moths on Danes Moss
Learning about moths and nocturnal wildlife on Danes Moss

Keep an eye on the website and follow us on social media to keep up to date on future events.

Granulated Ground-beetle on Danes Moss
Granulated Ground-beetle
Pebble Hook-tip Moth on Danes Moss
Pebble Hook-tip
Four-Spot Orbweaver Spider on Danes Moss
Four-Spot Orbweaver


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