Conserving the New Forest burnet moth (Zygaena viciae (Denis and Schiffermueller)) in Scotland; responses to grazing reduction and consequent vegetation changes

  • Published source details Young M.R. & Barbour D.A. (2004) Conserving the New Forest burnet moth (Zygaena viciae (Denis and Schiffermueller)) in Scotland; responses to grazing reduction and consequent vegetation changes. Journal of Insect Conservation, 8, 137-148.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Remove, control or exclude vertebrate herbivores

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Remove, control or exclude vertebrate herbivores

    A before-and-after study in 1990–2004 in a grassland in western Scotland, UK (Young & Barbour 2004) reported that after fencing excluded sheep, a population of New Forest burnet moth Zygaena viciae increased. Results were not tested for statistical significance. After seven years of complete sheep exclusion, 264 adults/transect were recorded, and the population was estimated at 8,500–10,200 individuals, compared to 0.1–1.2 adults/transect (estimated population 10–24 individuals) before and in the first six years of fencing (with occasional sheep grazing due to fence damage). The authors reported that this increase followed the spread of the hostplant meadow vetchling Lathyrus pratensis across the site. In early 1991 a 1-ha grassland, where 12 moths were found in 1990, was fenced to exclude sheep. In early 1994 and 1996, some sheep entered the site following damage to the fence, but from 1997–2004, sheep were completely excluded. In 1990, an intensive search for the moth was conducted. In July 1990–1991 and 1994–2003, moths were surveyed 1–15 times/year along a 5-m-wide, 300-m-long transect across the site, and were separately caught, marked and recaptured to estimate population size.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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