Box-tree Moth, Cydalima perspectalis

The Box-tree Moth, Cydalima perspectalis, is an Asian species of moth (usually seen in (Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, the Russian Far East, and India), that is gradually spreading, presumably with the advent of box hedges on new housing estates, across the South East of England.

Box-tree Moth, Cydalima perspectalis (Walker, 1859), to actinic light Jul 2019, VC29

It would’ve arrived as eggs/larvae on imported box (Buxus), first recorded here in 2007. Its larvae can destroy a box hedge. Another reason to go native when it comes to planting…probably too late for native box now though. I saw my first one in the trap in July of 2019, and half a dozen since, although mothing friends talking of seeing dozens if not hundreds in some locations drawn to scientific traps with high-power mercury vapour lamps. It is a quite beautiful albeit destructive, moth. There is a dark melanistic, form, which a common genetic abberation in lots of animals; see also the Industrial Evolution of the Peppered Moth.

Melanistic form of the Box-tree Moth to actinic light 13 Oct 2019, VC29

Wiki has more details on its recordings: first seen in Germany 2006, then Switzerland and The Netherlands in 2007, France and Austria in 2009, Hungary 2011, Romania, Spain, and Turkey. Also now in Slovakia, Belgium, and Croatia, and by 2016 Bosnia and Hercegovina. During the preparation to the 2014 Olympics in 2012 it was introduced from Italy to Sochi with the planting stock of Buxus sempervirens. A year later it was seen to be defoliating Buxus colchica. Now present in Toronto, Canada as of 2019.