The number of moth species recorded at Knepp has climbed to 527, including moths that are rapidly declining nationally, like the dusky thorn, figure of eight, cinnabar (exclusive to ragwort) and ghost moth.
On summer nights, male ghost moths live up to their name, tiny white figures hovering above the grassland around Hammer Pond, lekking over yellow females resting in the grass.
Targeted moth-trapping efforts for the Nationally Rare rush wainscot finally paid off. Previously recorded here in 2005 it was confirmed as present again in 2017, in the wetland area around the Hammer Pond. This species is confined to just five areas in the UK and is in danger of extinction in Sussex.
A concerted effort to re-find the Nationally Scarce sloe carpet, a species last recorded at Knepp in 1995, was successful in 2020 and several have been recorded here since. It requires mature stands of unmanaged blackthorn, its larval foodplant, so the numbers of this species are likely to increase over the years ahead. It is only found at two other locations in Sussex.
Pheromone lures have been used to attract clearwing moths, a group that is generally under-recorded but well worth the effort. The red-tipped clearwing is a Nationally Scarce species, extremely local in Sussex. The larvae bore into and feed on the wood inside willow branches.
Leaf-mining moths are found by inspecting leaves for their characteristic larval mines in the autumn. The Nationally Scarce Cosmopterix zieglerella, or hedge cosmet, has been found in the old hedgerows.