Living With Mistletoe

Mistletoe Marble Moth

Mistletoe Marble Moth
Photo: M. Parsons, Butterfly Conservation

Mistletoe has a long history in England in cultural ceremonies. Mistletoe was adopted by Christians and incorporated into Christmas decorations of churches and cathedrals. Mistletoe, Viscum album, is also host to a few species of insect, some rare or endangered. The Mistletoe Marble Moth, Celypha woodiana, gets its name from its beautiful marbled wings. It has a limited distribution in Britain. The larvae develop in mines in the leaves of mistletoe. This insect was placed on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan in 2008 as a Priority Species.

Mistletoe is a parasite of orchard trees. If left unmanaged, mistletoe will kill the trees leading to loss of both trees and mistletoe. If removal is total, the habitat for mistletoe fuana is elimintated. Management of the Mistletoe Marble Moth requires the management of mistletoe in abandoned orchards or other locations. Some funds for mistletoe management can be generated from mistletoe sales in the Christmas Season. However, only the female plants with berries are typically traded. Male plants must be managed as well. The moth is infrequently seen and the larval mines are difficult to spot in the tree canopy. These factors make conservation efforts challenging.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Endangered Species, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

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