The barred tooth-striped occurs in woodland clearings and rides on chalk, limestone or clay soils, and on chalk downland where the larval foodplant, wild privet Ligustrum vulgare, grows in full sunlight. Ash Fraxinus excelsior may be an alternative foodplant. The adults fly between mid March and late April, and are occasionally seen flitting along hedgerows and around bushes at dusk. They come to light occasionally, but usually remain among the bushes and are best found by searching with a torch. Some populations are quite large but the majority are small. The larvae feed between May and June before pupating until the following March.
In Britain the barred tooth-striped is a widespread but local species. Current strongholds are Sussex, the north Hampshire/Wiltshire area, Breckland on the Norfolk/Suffolk border, and south Cumbria. There are scattered populations elsewhere in central southern England, including post-1980 records from Gloucestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Staffordshire. The moth has been recorded on the Ardnamurchan peninsula, Argyll, during the last 20 years and surveys at the right time of year may prove it to be a widespread resident on ash in this area. There are a few old records from Inverness-shire and single records from Kirkcudbrightshire, Arran and Canna. This is an Eurasiatic species which occurs from western Europe through Russia to the Caucasus regions and from the northern part of central Scandinavia to the Alps.
In Great Britain the barred tooth-striped is classified as Nationally Scarce.
Current factors causing loss or decline
Loss of downland habitat.
Inappropriate scrub control on downland.
Inappropriate management of woodland, including removal of the foodplant during ride-widening associated with commercial extraction of timber, and neglect leading to shading out of the foodplant.
The moth occurs on several nature reserves and SSSIs.
Action plan objectives and targets
Maintain existing populations.
Enhance population size at all known sites by 2010.
Proposed actions with lead agencies
Policy and legislation
Where appropriate, include the requirements of the species when preparing or revising prescriptions for agri-environment and woodland grant schemes. (ACTION: NE, FC, MAFF, SE, SNH)
Site safeguard and management
Where possible, ensure that all occupied woodland habitat is appropriately managed by 2010, for example through SSSI or woodland grant scheme management agreements. (ACTION: NE, FC, SNH)
Where possible, ensure that chalk downland sites are sensitively managed to provide a mosaic of scrub and grassland. (ACTION: NE, MAFF)
Ensure that the species is included in site management documents for all relevant SSSI's. (ACTION: NE, SNH)
Consider notifying as SSSI's sites holding key populations of the species where this is necessary to secure their long-term protection and appropriate management. (ACTION: NE, SNH)
Species management and protection
Advise landowners and managers of the presence of this species and the importance of beneficial management for its conservation. (ACTION: NE, SNH)
As far as possible, ensure that all relevant agri-environment project officers and members of regional agri-environment consultation groups are advised of locations of this species, its importance and the management needed for its conservation. (ACTION: NE, MAFF, SE, SNH)
Future Research and Monitoring
Undertake surveys, particularly in under-recorded areas of Scotland and Cumbria, to determine the status of the species. (ACTION: NE, SNH)
Conduct targeted autecological research to inform habitat management, particularly mobility, population structure, and the use of ash as an alternative foodplant. (ACTION: NE, FC, SNH)
Establish a regular monitoring programme for the species. (ACTION: NE, SNH)
Pass information gathered during survey and monitoring of this species to a central database for incorporation in national and international databases. (ACTION: NE, SNH)
Communications and Publicity
Promote opportunities for the appreciation of the species and the conservation issues associated with its habitat. This should be achieved via articles within appropriate journals as well as by a publicity leaflet. (ACTION: NE, FC, SNH)
Links with other action plans
The following LBAPs are working on Trichopteryx polycommata:
Originally published in: UK Biodiversity Group Tranche 2 Action Plans - Volume VI: Terrestrial and freshwater species and habitats (October 1999, Tranche 2, Vol VI, p103)
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