Loe Bar and the Sandhill Rustic Moth

The Biogeography, Ecology and History of a Coastal Shingle Bar

In Loe Bar and the Sandhill Rustic Moth, Adrian Spalding examines the survival of plants and animals on Loe Bar, a shingle beach on the coast of Cornwall, in the context of its history, geomorphology and exposure to the Atlantic environment. He develops these themes within a detailed study of the Sandhill Rustic moth that endures this harsh environment where storm surges, high salinity, high temperatures, strong winds and burial by sand affect the wildlife that occurs there.

E-Book: List price

EUR €80.00USD $104.00

Biographical Note

Adrian Spalding MA (Cantab), PhD (University of Aberdeen), FLS, FRES is a former Director of the Cornish Biological Records Unit (University of Exeter) and currently Director of Spalding Associates (Environmental) Ltd. He has had a lifetime passion for moths and butterflies.

Review Quotes

"I dare to suggest that this book should become a classic, of which I am reminded of the original 'Natural History of Selborne'."
- Dr Chris Page (Former Principal Scientific Officer of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh).

"Armed with the considerable amount of information provided, the author has ensured that the reader has much to mull over while enjoying this highly informative book. [...] this book follows the foundation and examples provided by E.B. Ford (1955) and Young (1997) in generating an inquisitiveness about the natural world and in demonstrating what can be achieved with dedicated study."
- The editor of Butterfly, the magazine of Butterfly Conservation.

[A] pleasure to read, partly because he doesn’t use technicalities or jargon, and also because Spalding takes as much delight in the Bar’s story, its shipwrecks, its storms and shifting sands, and its well-adapted denizens, as he does in the fortunes of L.nickerlii leechi. His study of a small, rare moth and its habitat has the makings of a grass-blade classic.
- Peter Marren in British Wildlife (January 2016).

At 346 pages, it is not a short read, but it is well worth it for its fascinating cultural history (think Poldark), the natural history of the many creatures that inhabit the bar, but above all the painstaking observations of the moth itself. This is an immaculate study of a corner of Britain by a prominent entomologist who clearly loves and cares about its future.
Dr Martin Warren in Butterfly (Spring 2016, p. 34).

"Adrian Spalding has studied Loe Bar and its biota for many years since 1984, and the history and biology of the Sandhill Rustic and its environment (based largely on the author’s work) is encapsulated in this impressive book. [...] The book is a valuable contribution to the region’s natural history, as a thought-provoking and informative account of a highly specialised association and the conservation approaches that may be illuminated by long-term detailed documentation and study. It illustrates well the ecological detail and background information that contribute to practical conservation of taxa, and is an object lesson for emulation elsewhere."
- Tim R. New (La Trobe University, Melbourne) in Journal of Insect Conservation (March 2016).

"Readers will find plentiful information at their disposal to guide them through the intricate relationship of both moth and bar and to generate their own thoughts. First, there is the profusion of figures, maps, tables, citations, and photographs –many attractively in colour – accompanying the text. Second, the author builds a solid context for the plants [...] and animals found on Loe Bar and on similar features around the British coast [...] Third, and of huge importance for understanding the moth, there is an extensive, in depth study of the genus Luperina elsewhere, not just over Britain but over europe. Most intriguing and vital are the details on other coastal populations (distinguished by the author as subspecies) of Luperina nickerlii in Britain (i.e. leechi, demuthi, gueneei, knilli) and on mainland europe (e.g. nickerlii, graslini, tardenota, albarracina), including their biology, biogeography, ecology and genetics."
- R. L. H. Dennis in Entomologist’s Gazette (2016) Vol. 67, p. 82-84.

Table of contents

Foreword by Professor Jeremy Thomas OBE

Chapter 1. Man and The Bar
Chapter 2. Formation, Geology and Physical Processes
Chapter 3. Plants
Chapter 4. Sand Couch Grass
Chapter 5. Mammals, Birds and Invertebrates
Chapter 6. Moths on Loe Bar
Chapter 7. The Sandhill Rustic Moth on Loe Bar in the context of the European Populations
Chapter 8. The Sandhill Rustic on Loe Bar
Chapter 9. The Past and The Future

Appendix 3.1. National Vegetation Classification communities on Loe Bar 2012
Appendix 9.1. Threats to the Sandhill Rustic moth from predicted sea-level rise - in the forefront of climate change
Scientific names of plants listed in the text
Scientific names of birds, animals and invertebrates listed in the text


All entomologists, ecologists, conservationists interested in the historical ecology of dynamic shingle environments, especially in plant and animal interactions, and the survival of moths close to the sea in Cornwall.

Index Card

Collection Information