For those regular readers of this blog you may remember that I have had several posts concerning the Small Eggar.
Back in 2017 I found a larval web of this moth, which was a bit of a surprise as it is considered close to extinction in Sussex. Every year since I have found small numbers of these webs on my patch with a highest yearly total of 5.
When the webs started to appear this year I was once again pleased to find a small number in the regular area, but then a couple more were found nearby, and then James also found a small number.
I decided to spend an afternoon walking the area to see if I could reach a double figure count of webs, I certainly wasn't expecting to find the amount I did as at the end of the walk I had reached 27 webs. This was according to the Sussex Moth Recorder, Colin Pratt, the highest count in Sussex for many decades.
Although seeing this number was very exciting I decided there must be more as there was a large area of private land where access was not possible. I then contacted the landowner and gained permission to explore the area and after quite a thorough search I managed to more than double the count ending up with a grand total of 58 webs.
With each web holding many larvae the area has it seems become the main stronghold of this Nationally scarce moth in Sussex.
Mass of Small Eggar larvae on larval webs. (larvae in top web more advanced).
Small Eggar larval web, note foliage surrounding web has been eaten.
Small Eggar larvae, top 2 one instar ahead of the other 3.
Near fully grown Small Eggar larva.