Many of the most successful species in nature thrive because they can cope in a variety of habitats and conditions, others have much more specific requirements and can only be found where those conditions are met. The chimney sweeper moth (Odezia atrata) has some pretty specific requirements! It likes chalk grassland, limestone hills and damp grassy meadows and at Corfe Common the chalk of the Purbeck Ridge to the north and the limestone Purbeck Hills to the south meet in the damp, grassy conditions that exist on the common. As a result, on sunny days this is a place to find this little moth in June and July.
One look at the photo shows why it is called the chimney sweeper, it is a dusty black colour all over. It may be plain black but it is an unusual colour for a moth and I think it is quite beautiful.
This is a local and uncommon species in the south of England but, because the habitat is right, it is quite common on Corfe Common!