MOTH TRAPPING

Our latest moth trapping reports are given here. For our equipment and cumulative list of moths, please scroll to the foot of the page.

Thanks to Stephen Locke for the text and all photos.

For a blog on ‘Rearing Puss Moth Larvae’ by Stephen Locke, please click on this link: http://northcurrywildlife.blogspot.com/2020/07/rearing-puss-moth-larvae.html

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Coronavirus restrictions 2020

We are not trapping as a communal activity at the Community Woodland during the coronavirus pandemic, but Stephen is trapping in his own garden and is sending us reports of moths caught locally.

Moth Report, 31 August 2020

Some visitors to the trap on 31 August included three seasonal moths in very fine condition. The first is August Thorn – or possibly, September Thorn. Unfortunately, the month in the name is no guide to the identification of these very similar moths, both of which fly in the late summer/early autumn, but I’m fairly certain the first moth is an August Thorn. 

August Thorn

The next two pictures are Dusky Thorn; again, very similar but distinguished by a darker marking on the wing. All the Thorns are characterised by their rather unusual resting posture with the wings held up at an angle reminiscent of a butterfly. Both these individuals are males with splendid antennae.

Dusky Thorn

The fourth is Light Emerald – strictly speaking not a true Emerald, although there cannot be strict rules for vernacular names. But all the other Emeralds are a different family (and a brighter green) and the Light Emerald is actually the same family as the Thorns. Anyway, whatever its name, a lovely moth and like the Thorns, in very good condition.

Light Emerald

I don’t know if it’s my imagination, but a number of moths and butterflies seem large and fine this year. We’re used to speaking of good and bad butterfly and moth years based on the adults we see flying, but need to remember that what matters most is how the larvae fared, usually for the previous year or more, and that while we may grow nectaring flowers to be helpful for the adults (or at least those which actually feed) and more especially to increase our chances of seeing them, it is the supply of food plants for the larvae which is critical. And as many of these are commonly regarded as weeds, we have a typical human inconsistency of carefully growing certain flowers to attract the adult while ruthlessly eliminating the plants on which their feeding stages depend. We have been encouraged to allow some nettle patches but I wonder when our tolerance will extend to Docks, which are very important food plants for many moth caterpillars!

The full list (45 moths of 15 spp) for 31 August is: August Thorn, Brimstone, Common Wainscot (x14), Dusky Brocade? (x2), Dusky Thorn, Flounced Rustic (x2), Large Yellow Underwing (x6), Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Light Emerald (x2), Orange Swift, Rosy Rustic, Rustic, Setaceous Hebrew Character (x7), Siver Y (x3) and Small Square-spot (x2).

I have queried the Dusky Brocade as Brocades can be problematic to identify and Dark Brocade was another possibility. Nutmeg is a similar moth, but lacks the strong ‘W’ at the end of the wing.


Moth Report, 16 August 2020

A fine pair of Red Underwing settled on our house wall last night, Sunday 16 August.

This large moth is not rare and can sometimes be seen by day, either nectaring or resting, and when it exposes its red and black hindwing, its identity is obvious. Its food plants include willows and poplars, so you would expect it about here.

This is one of numerous butterflies and moths which display a red or yellow and black warning signal to would-be predators. These colours are intended to signal that the insect is toxic and distasteful. The more insects which display them, the more the message is learnt and understood by predators, so they mimic each other and the signal becomes very widespread – known as Mullerian mimicry.

This system only works, of course, if the majority are actually distasteful: otherwise the system would lose its potency. In fact, some non-toxic, tasty insects do mimic toxic, nasty ones, without going to the trouble of making toxins – known as Batesian mimicry. So there is a limit to this ‘free-loading’ behaviour which would become self-defeating if too common.

This was first realised and described by the naturalist Henry Walter Bates, who explored and collected in the Amazon with his companion Alfred Russel Wallace. Both were outstanding naturalists and explorers and Wallace arrived at an understanding of evolution through natural selection while working in Borneo. 

Wallace wrote to Charles Darwin – who he regarded as a senior naturalist likely (and broad-minded enough) to be understanding of his ideas – not knowing that Darwin had been maturing the same theory for many years but never published. This led to a joint presentation to the Linnaean Society of a summary Darwin had prepared for his closest friends some years previously and Wallace’s letter.

This was the first public announcement of evolution by natural selection but it went virtually unnoticed. It was not until Darwin published On the Origin of Species in 1859 that its importance began to dawn on people.

Silver Y is another day-flying moth in evidence at the moment. If you see a medium-sized grey job behaving like a butterfly on your flowers, it is likely to be a Silver Y. The silver mark which gives it its name is clearly visible on the forewings, but can only be seen when the moth is still– which it rarely is – when nectaring it beats it wings very fast. Silver Y is an immigrant which (at the moment at least) cannot sustain its life-cycle over our winter.

Silver Y showing the marks that give it its name

Moth Trapping, 2 August 2020

The highlight of the night was undoubtedly the number of Jersey Tiger. I had similar numbers in August last year. The most recent edition of Townsend and Waring’s Concise Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland still describes Jersey Tiger as ‘local’ (and also an immigrant) but clearly there is a well-established population here. The Somerset Moth Recorder said he had similar records last year. Altogether, North Curry seems good for Tiger moths, although I am still waiting for Garden Tiger.

At least one of the Jersey Tigers was the rarer form with the yellow underwing.

Although there is nothing rare or even unusual about them, three species were new to me: Latticed Heath; Shaded Broad-bar and Straw Underwing. This will simply be down to location and habitat, or simply the vagaries of mothing.

The forewings of Straw Underwing are Brocade-like and, as it was new to me, I was puzzling over it until I thought to look at the hind wing. It is useful to bear this in mind if you have what you think might be a Brocade of sorts. 

The full list (85 moths of 32 spp.) was: Blood-vein, Brimstone (>5), Cloaked Minor (x2), Common Carpet (x2), Common Footman (x3), Common Rustic (x5), Common Wainscot (x5), Drinker (M), Dusky Thorn (x3), Elephant Hawkmoth, Flame Shoulder (x2), Garden Carpet, Iron Prominent, Jersey Tiger (>13), Latticed Heath, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (>11), Lime-speck Pug, Lychnis, Magpie (x2), Marbled Green, Oak/Northern Eggar (F) (x2), Pale Prominent, Pebble Prominent, Ruby Tiger (x2), Rustic (x3 incl. poss. Vine’s Rustic), Shaded Broad-bar, Shuttle-shaped Dart (x5), Spectacle, Straw Underwing (x2), Willow Beauty (x4) and Yellow-tail (x2).

Pebble Prominent

Moth Trapping, 25 July 2020

Despite a spell of poor weather, I put the trap out on Saturday night, 25 July, just to see if the rain showers had tempted any moths out, though it was not a full night’s trapping as I closed the trap down at 2 am. Nevertheless, I caught some interesting and varied moths, including Common Footman (quite a number, not counted), Common Rustic (x2), Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Dingy Footman, Drinker (M), Jersey Tiger, Knot Grass, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Nutmeg (x3), Pale Prominent, Pebble Prominent, Riband Wave, Ruby Tiger (x4, one nearly black) and Willow Beauty (14 species).

The Dingy Footman is quite a distinctive moth, much broader and more curved than the Common Footman. The Lesser Broad-bodied Yellow Underwing was very fresh and showed well the pale green collar which helps identification. The Nutmegs were pristine specimens. The Ruby Tigers are obviously out in force now, and one I had was virtually a velvety black, but bright red underneath of course.

The male Drinker Moth has enormous and splendid antennae. Many male moths have big feathery antennae to discern the female pheromone, of course, but this male Drinker has super-sized antennae. The photo below was snapped in a hurry before it flew off. A moth which has been cold overnight will vibrate for a minute or two to warm itself up and get its muscles working before flying off. This moth is doing just that, which is why the wings are blurred.

Male Drinker moth, showing fine antennae

The Pale Prominent is shown below. Cryptic scarcely describes this moth which when at rest looks exactly like a scrap of thin bark or other debris. If it feels threatened, it will flatten itself and become remarkably thin, keel over on its side and feign death. Like this, it certainly doesn’t look like anything worth eating, and I almost missed it when I was checking the trap, mistaking it at first for a scrap of rubbish.

Pale Prominent against gravel (its head to the right)

Moth Trapping, 11 July 2020

A respectable tally for July on the first relatively wind-free night we have had for some time. Allowing for the numerous Common Footmen, Rustics and Heart & Dart, there were about 50 moths of 20 species, including Barred Straw, Buff Arches, Buff Ermine (M & F), Common Footman (very many), Common Rustic, Dark Arches (x3), Elephant Hawkmoth, Heart & Dart, Large Yellow Underwing, Mottled Rustic (prob.), Nut-tree Tussock, Pale Mottled Willow?, Riband Wave, Ruby Tiger, Rustic/Uncertain, Scalloped Oak (x2), September Thorn (prob), Yellow-tail, Shark, Willow Beauty (prob., very worn).

Some pictures from the night include a Yellow-tail, which is obvious in this picture but not when the tail is hidden, as it normally is when the moth is not irritated.

Yellow-tail showing tail

The yellow hairs are themselves an irritant and the female (the photo is a male) mixes them with her eggs when she lays them. There is a close relative – the Brown-tail – which is virtually identical but with, obviously, brown hairs. These are very irritating and can be carried in the air, which is not usually a problem except in exceptional years when the Brown-tail has a population surge. The caterpillars live communally in large webs which can completely envelop their food plant, normally a hedgerow tree or shrub. When this happens, they are very noticeable and can make people, and particularly local authorities, extremely anxious as they try to ‘close’ hedges, egged on by the tabloids. But it is worth remembering that a number of caterpillars have irritant hairs as a defence against predators which they incorporate into both their eggs and pupae.

The next picture is a Buff Ermine, a member of the same family of largely furry and stocky moths, including Tiger Moths. This is the male, which is buff; the female has a pure white background with similar markings.

Buff Ermine male

Another fine moth is the Scalloped Oak.

Scalloped Oak

The next two moths are so common they are often neglected. The Riband Wave is known to every moth trapper. It is a very variable summer (and sometimes autumn) moth, but the basic pattern of lines is always consistently present and helps distinguish it from the many other Waves, which can be a rather difficult group to identify.

Riband Wave

The Common Footman is particularly abundant at the moment: it made up about half of the total moths which were trapped last night, and there will have been many more that were attracted to the light but not trapped. As with the Waves, there are a number of Footman species which look superficially similar, but all rather smart, if sombre, as befits a good footman.

Common Footman


Moth Trapping, 23 June 2020

I put the trap out in my garden on Tuesday night 23 June and trapped 33 moths of 21 spp. The full list was: Barred Straw, Brimstone, Broad-barred White, Brussels Lace (m, very dark), Buff Ermine (x4), Buff Footman? (very clear and strong orange margin), Common Footman, Common Rustic, Dark Arches (x6), Elephant Hawkmoth (x2), Heart & Dart (x5), Large Yellow Underwing (x2 trapped, but more blundering about), Leopard Moth, Minor, Mottled Rustic?, Orange Moth (x2 m), Poplar Hawkmoth, Puss Moth, Small Elephant Hawkmoth, Snout and Willow Beauty.

The Poplar Hawkmoth is a fine moth. For some reason, I never find a tatty, worn one: they always seem to be fresh.

Poplar Hawkmoth

The Leopard Moth is a common moth but the first time I have seen it. It is one of a family of moths of which the adults cannot feed and the larvae are tunnellers. So, three years as a caterpillar inside a willow tree, and a week or so flying around hungry looking for a mate!

 Leopard Moth

Orange Moth (so named for obvious reasons), again not rare, but local and another first for me. With two in one night, there must be a breeding population nearby. In contrast to the Poplar Hawkmoth, this is an extremely flighty moth, and the photo is of the slightly less tatty of the two.

Orange Moth

Moth Trapping, 27 May 2020

With the year moving on and an exceptional spell of warm and, above all, calmer weather, the moth count is increasing. On the night of Wednesday 27 May Stephen had 20 spp., 35 moths in all (as always, not including micro-moths or pugs, unless the latter are very easy!). This is not a high count but a good average for this time of year.

Moth numbers at traps can be very unpredictable and inconsistent. The full list was: Barred Straw (x2), Brimstone, Buff-tip, Common Carpet (x2), Common Marbled Carpet, Common Swift, Common Wainscot (x2), Cream-spot Tiger, Elephant Hawkmoth, Garden Carpet, Green Carpet (f), Heart and Dart (x6), Light Emerald, Lychnis, Marbled Minor, Pale Tussock (x2m), Puss Moth, Treble Lines (x5), White Ermine (x2m), Willow Beauty (x2) (plus Small Magpie, a micro-moth).

One interesting moth was the Light Emerald - strictly speaking not a ‘true’ Emerald in the sense that it is a different family from all the other Emeralds, which are stronger green. But green is an unusual colour for moths and the Light Emerald is nice to see, although common, with a larva which feeds on a wide variety of broad-leaved trees and shrubs.

Light Emerald

And, by way of contrast, a Lychnis, which initially looks a bit of a plain brown moth but has quite a distinctive ‘x’ pattern on its resting wings.

Lychnis

Another Puss Moth turned up and laid eggs - which look to be fertile so Stephen will try to rear them for the unusual and spectacular caterpillar.

Moth Trapping, 20 May 2020

Stephen put the trap out in his garden on Wednesday 20 May with good results. Honours were shared between three Cream-spot Tigers, a Puss Moth and a Buff-tip. The three Cream-spot Tigers were caught in quick succession when they settled on the backing sheet while Stephen was checking the trap at 10.30pm. This might indicate that there is a good population locally.

Quite a few moths are attracted by the light of a moth trap, but do not necessarily enter the trap. On a pleasant summer night, it is worth staying up and picking moths off the sheet as they arrive. Indeed, on a good night it might be worth simply shining a bright light on a white sheet and seeing what turns up.

Another nice moth was Puss Moth. It has the most spectacular larva, which a recent article in British Wildlife suggests is a snake mimic - a geologically ancient fear of snakes being genetically in-built in almost all animals. The food plant is willow so it may be common locally.

Puss Moth

The third moth, the Buff-tip, is an astonishing mimic of a broken twig.

Buff-tip

Altogether, there were 24 moths of 14 species, quite a respectable total for this time of year. The full list was: Buff-tip, Cream-spot Tiger (x3), Garden Carpet, Heart & Dart (x5), Hebrew Character, Knot Grass, Lychnis, Muslin Moth (m), Pale Tussock (m & f), Puss Moth, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Treble Lines (x4), White Ermine (m), Yellow-barred Brindle.

Moth Trapping, 9 May 2020

Stephen put the trap out on Saturday 9 May in his garden as a still, warm night was forecast, resulting in a catch that was diverse, if not numerous (11 moths of 11 species): Brimstone, Broken-barred Carpet, Common Marbled Carpet, Cream-spot Tiger, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Heart and Dart, Hebrew Character, Pebble Prominent, Shuttle-shaped Dart (F), Streamer and Treble Lines.

Stephen was particularly pleased to attract the Cream-spot Tiger, which was placidly sheltering behind the backing sheet. While it is not rare (it is classed as ‘local’), he has no record of seeing it before in the UK, so it was a nice find. Like all Tigers, it is on the flamboyant side due to its typical warning colouration. 

Cream-spot Tiger at rest

Cream-spot Tiger flashing a warning with its yellow and black underwing

Cream-spot Tiger ‘playing dead’ (its second line of defence) and showing its gaudy underside

The Cream-spot Tiger is a moth which will rest quite visibly during the day, relying on its warning colouration to deter predators, so it worth keeping an eye open at the base of hedgerows.

Another Tiger which will rest in plain view during the day, and might at first glance be confused with the Cream-spot, is the Jersey Tiger which has been seen at the woodland and may be seen in gardens in summer.

Jersey Tiger at rest during the day

Moth Trapping, 24 April 2020

Stephen put the trap out in his garden again and trapped 5 moths of 5 species, including two moths characteristic for this time of year: the Muslin Moth (below left) and the Pale Tussock (below right ). Both are males as you can see from their fine antennae.

The female Muslin Moth has the same markings, but a totally different, white, ground colour. The Pale Tussock is showing his characteristic resting posture with furry forefeet pushed forward. Both species are often very placid moths which, if attracted to light and not disturbed, will rest like that for long periods.


Moth Trapping, 2 April 2020

Stephen put the moth trap out on 2 April in his garden for the first time since the autumn (conditions over the winter had been so wet and, above all, windy as to make it not worthwhile). Conditions were far from ideal and there was just one moth in the trap: a Hebrew Character, one of the early spring moths and a common one, but new to our list simply because of the time of year. The name derives from the apparent resemblance of its wing marking to a character in the Hebrew alphabet.

Hebrew Character

Later in the day, Stephen noticed another common spring moth, Common Quaker, which was probably attracted to the light but not trapped. Its name refers to the very plain, not to say drab, appearance of this moth, reminiscent of sombre Quaker dress. 

Moth Trapping, Winter 2019-2020

We had intended to continue setting the moth trap throughout the winter at the Community Woodland, but incessant rain and wind prevented this. Nevertheless, Stephen encountered his first ‘proper’ moth of the year in his greenhouse on 29 February, the very attractive Angle Shades. This is a moth which has been recorded in every month of the year, probably with two broods and some immigrants, but this one was pristine and very early.

Angle Shades

Report of moth trapping at the Community Woodland, 27 September 2019 (National Moth Night)

Text and photos by Stephen Locke

This was a quiet but worthwhile trapping and our contribution to National Moth Night at a time of inauspicious weather. We were grateful to the Met Office for the accuracy of their forecast which allowed us to choose the one reasonable evening of the three designated as Moth Nights. The wind died down and it was a clear night, chilly rather than cold (about 12 deg). Warmer and overcast would have probably encouraged more moths.

Nevertheless, among the small number attracted, we had several characteristic and distinctive autumn moths, including Sallow, Barred Sallow and, in the same family, Lunar Underwing, of which we had at least half-a-dozen specimens.

 

Sallow (left) and Barred Sallow  (right)

These join the Centre-barred Sallow which we had at the Community Woodland on 8 September (see below). All of them are moths of grassland, scrub, hedgerows and broad-leaved woodland and are autumn flyers, so they are just what you would expect.

Setaceous Hebrew Character, a very common and distinctive moth, was the most numerous moth of the night, although it was followed closely by the Lunar Underwing.

Setaceous Hebrew Character (left) and Lunar Underwing (right)

The full list was: Barred Sallow, Garden Carpet, Lunar Underwing, Sallow, Setaceous Hebrew Character and a Beauty (prob. Willow Beauty but too worn for confident id) (6 spp.), along with several very worn and unidentifiable LBJs.


Report of moth trapping at the Community Woodland, 8 Sept 2019

Text and photos by Stephen Locke

We ran the trap between 8.15 and 10.30 pm, with most activity occurring between 9 and 10 pm, but the results were rather sparse with just nine species recorded. The strong, three-quarter moon in a largely clear sky may have been a factor. Moonlight is often said to reduce catches, but since results often seem inconsistent it is not really possible to say.

The list that follows, however, does include two colourful and characteristic autumnal moths: Canary-shouldered Thorn and Centre-barred Sallow. The Canary-shouldered Thorn is aptly named, and all the common species of Thorn have now been recorded at the Community Woodland.

Canary-shouldered Thorn

The larvae of the Centre-barred Sallow, despite its name, feed on the unopened buds of mature ash; those of the Canary-shouldered Thorn on a variety of trees.

Centre-barred Sallow

The full list of moths seen is: Brimstone, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Centre-barred Sallow, Common Wainscot, Dusky Thorn, Grey Chi, Large Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character (the name of this very common moth refers to the wing markings resembling a Hebrew letter), Square-spot Rustic (probably the most abundant moth of the night and a real LBJ!) (9 spp)

Report of moth trapping in a Queen Square garden, 24 August 2019

Text and photos by Stephen Locke

This session in a central North Curry garden produced a very good variety of moths. We ran the trap between 8.30 and 11.30 pm, with most activity being between about 9.15 and 11.00 pm, but there was plenty going on when we packed up.

Gold Spot (left) and Jersey Tiger (right)

The list of moths seen is: August Thorn, Blood Vein, Brimstone (many), Chinese Character (looks like a conventional moth with its wings open - small, white with black markings - but an excellent mimic of a bird-dropping when at rest), Common Carpet, Common Footman (many), Common (or Dark) Marbled Carpet, Common Rustic, Common Wainscot (many), Dog’s Tooth, Flame Shoulder, Gold Spot, Green Carpet (fresh - they lose their green colour as they age), Jersey Tiger, Large Yellow Underwing (many), Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (many), Light Emerald, Orange Swift, Poplar Hawkmoth (a truly noble moth), Rustic, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Silver Y (an immigrant and a common day-flier), Small Blood-vein, Square-spot Rustic, Vestal (another immigrant and a nice moth to find), Willow Beauty, Yellow Shell (27 spp).

The note ‘many’ simply records those which were particularly numerous.

 Poplar Hawkmoth

 

Vestal

 It is extraordinary to think of the delicate Vestal migrating from Europe.


Report of moth trapping at the Community Woodland, 3 August 2019

Text and photos by Stephen Locke

The moth trap was set up in the south-east corner of the woodland just off the path near the bird feeders. We ran the trap from 9.30pm to midnight.

The list of moths seen is: Brimstone, Common Carpet, Common Footman, Common Wainscot, Drinker, Flame, Jersey Tiger, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Magpie, Oak/Northern Eggar (female), Orange Swift (male), Rosy Footman, Ruby Tiger (x7 in trap - more were seen but not trapped), Scorched Carpet, Shaded Broad-bar, Square-spot Rustic (18 spp.).

Magpie

The ‘big moth’ of the night was Oak/Northern Eggar. The naming of this moth is complex and confusing. Northern Eggars are not confined to the north of Britain and for our purposes can be considered forms of the same species. There are differences in the larval life cycle related to what stage the larva over-winters and in colouration of the adult moth (the guide gives the darker colouration as Northern Eggar). But, whatever the name, it is a fine moth.

Oak/Northern Eggar (female)

Numbers of Ruby Tiger continue high. The larva of the Orange Swift lives underground on the roots of vegetation.

Orange Swift (male)

Report of moth trapping at the Community Woodland, 25 July 2019

Text and photos by Stephen Locke

The moth trap was set up just off the path at the front of the orchard at the far end of the woodland. We ran the trap from 9.30 to midnight.

The list of moths seen is: Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Cloaked Minor (f. bicoloria), Clouded Border, Common Carpet, Common Footman (very numerous), Common Rustic, Common Wainscot (numerous), Drinker (several), Dusky Sallow, Early Thorn, Elephant Hawkmoth, Heart & Dart, Ingrailed Clay (prob.), Jersey Tiger, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bodied Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Mocha, Purple Bar, Rosy Footman, Ruby Tiger (very numerous - we may have seen approaching 50 - there were a dozen in the trap), Scorched Carpet, Sharp-angled Peacock, Small Fan-footed Wave, Willow Beauty (25 spp.).

 Ruby Tiger

The moth of the night was Ruby Tiger for sheer numbers, but probably the most interesting moth was a Mocha, classed as nationally scarce B, the third highest category of rarity. The Mocha is very distinctive and so the identification unambiguous. Although a small moth, it has exquisite markings, and its occurrence at the woodland is exactly right both in general and in habitat.

Mocha


Report of moth trapping at the Community Woodland, 16 July 2019

Text and photos by Stephen Locke

The moth trap was set up in the south-east corner of the woodland just off the path near the bird feeders. We ran the trap for about two hours from 9.30 to 11.30 pm.

Many species of moth came to the light, but it was surprising that few species were caught in the trap during this time. Those caught were 6 Drinkers and a Common Footman, but the full list of moths seen in the two hours of trapping was: Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Common Footman, Common Wainscot, Coronet, Drinker (x>9), Elephant Hawkmoth, Lappet, Oak Hooktip, Riband Wave, Rosy Footman, Satin Wave, Scorched Carpet, Sharp-angled Peacock and Swallow-tailed Moth. 


Swallow-tailed moth

We also saw micro-moths but did not record them. The Lappet proved to be a female and laid eggs overnight.

                 

Lappet moth

Our results can possibly be explained by the fact that moths fly at different times of the night as well as different times of the year, and we might have trapped more moths had we trapped for longer. Some of the more common moths we might have expected are perhaps late flyers at this time of year. It is also possible that our torches distracted the moths from the trap as we saw a good variety while we were at the woodland.

The number of Drinkers was a surprising result. Their larvae feed on tall, coarse grasses and rushes and they prefer damp areas so the woodland is presumably a good area for them.

Drinker moth

MOTH TRAP

Thanks to our award from the National Lottery Community Fund, we have been able to buy a moth trap so that we can discover which moths are visiting the Community Woodland and other areas of the village.

The group is very grateful to Stephen Locke for researching the most suitable moth trap for our needs and for obtaining a Skinner trap which is lightweight and portable and comes with a rechargeable lithium battery so that we can use it in places such as the woodland without a source of power. We set it up with a white backing sheet behind it as moths will come to rest on the sheet as well as fly into the trap and can be inspected if the trap is attended or if they are still resting there in the morning.

Skinner moth trap in situ with battery beneath it and backing sheet behind

We are planning to trap at the Community Woodland on a regular basis and at different times in order to ascertain the full range of species throughout the year.

MOTH LIST

The cumulative list of moths recorded since trapping began in mid-July 2019 is:

At the Community Woodland: Barred Sallow, Brimstone, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Canary-shouldered Thorn, Centre-barred Sallow, Cloaked Minor (f. bicoloria), Clouded Border, Common Carpet, Common Footman, Common Rustic, Common Wainscot, Coronet, Drinker, Dusky Sallow, Dusky Thorn, Early Thorn, Elephant Hawkmoth, Flame, Garden Carpet, Grey Chi, Heart and Dart, Ingrailed Clay (prob.), Jersey Tiger, Lappet, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bodied Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Lunar Underwing, Magpie, Mocha, Oak/Northern Eggar (female), Oak Hooktip, Orange Swift (male), Purple Bar, Riband Wave, Rosy Footman, Ruby Tiger, Sallow, Satin Wave, Scorched Carpet, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Shaded Broad-bar, Sharp-angled Peacock, Small Fan-footed Wave, Square-spot Rustic, Swallow-tailed Moth, Willow Beauty (47 spp.)

Additional in the village: Angle Shades, August Thorn, Barred Straw, Blood-vein, Broad-barred White, Broken-barred Carpet, Brussels Lace (m, very dark), Buff Arches. Buff Ermine, Buff Footman? (very clear and strong orange margin), Buff-tip, Chinese Character, Common Quaker, Common (or Dark) Marbled Carpet, Cream-spot Tiger, Dark Arches, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Dingy Footman,Dog’s Tooth, Flame Shoulder, Gold Spot, Green Carpet, Hebrew Character, Iron Prominent, Knot Grass, Latticed Heath, Leopard Moth, Light Emerald, Lime-speck Pug, Lychnis, Marbled Green, Minor, Mottled Rustic (prob.), Muslin Moth, Nutmeg, Nut-tree Tussock, Orange Moth (m), Pale Mottled Willow?, Pale Prominent, Pale Tussock, Pebble Prominent, Poplar Hawkmoth, Puss Moth, Red Underwing, Rustic/Uncertain, Scalloped Oak, September Thorn (prob.), Shark, Shuttle-shaped Dart (F), Silver Y, Small Blood-vein, Small Elephant Hawkmoth, Snout, Spectacle, Straw Underwing, Streamer, Treble Lines, Vestal, Vine’s Rustic (poss.), White Ermine, Yellow Shell, Yellow-barred Brindle, Yellow-tail (63 spp).