glenOn 31 March 2016, batches of eggs from Colchester Zoo’s breeding programme for Fisher’s Estuarine Moth, one of Britain’s rarest moths, are to be introduced onto the National Trust’s Copt Hall Marshes.

The breeding programme has taken place at Colchester Zoo since 2008 in order to provide a readily available supply of eggs for newly-created habitat sites around north-east Essex.  The 2015 breeding programme at Colchester Zoo was successful, with emergent females laying 14 batches of eggs with each batch containing over 100 eggs!

moth-release-groupCopt Hall Marshes is one of 27 new sites planted with over 38,000 of the caterpillar’s sole food plant, Hog’s Fennel!

In addition to the breeding programme, survey work has also shown sightings of the moth’s caterpillar & adult moths feeding, some of these had been populated by the breeding programme but many had been colonised by the moth naturally.

This exciting news shows that the moth is capable of extending its habitat naturally and, coupled with the breeding programme, we hope that the outlook for the Fisher’s Estuarine Moth will be more favourable into the future.

Research and Conservation Director at Colchester Zoo, Rebecca Perry says “We are delighted by the continuing success of this project.  A captive population provided by Colchester Zoo will ensure that there is a readily available supply of these moths to introduce into new sites when conditions are suitable and it will mean that small and vulnerable naturally occurring populations are not relied upon for this supply in the future.’’

For the full report on this project and its new release please click here.

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