Friday, 20 May 2011

Moths - At last

The Safari was able to put the moth trap out last night for only the second time this year. It didn't go on until just before midnight so we'd lost a couple of hours of darkness. But having a look this morning after our Patch 1 visit, not much to report from there other than, sadly, a murdered Hedgehog, the new lamp had pulled in a stonker. Not quite in the jaws of the trap was this male Puss Moth. We took a quick snap just in case it flew off whilst being wrangled out of the box. Fortunately it was still cold and you get the 'full frontal' pic too.

There has been a hatch locally as the youngsters reported finding a dead one in their local park yesterday. Puss Moth larvae feed on Poplars and Willows which, despite the best efforts of the nearby offices' groundsmen and their chainsaws, are still plentiful locally.
Also attracted to the light were three fresh Heat and Darts. This one looks like it may have already lost an antenna and a leg or two. This species can be so abundant as to be a 'nuisance' in the trap. Not surprisingly the caterpillars feed on a variety of common herbaceous plants including the various species of Plantains.

Flame Shoulders are very common hereabouts but no less striking for it. These feed on a similar range of common and widespread plants to the Heart & Darts. The final moth gleaned from the innards of the upturned egg-boxes was a very tidy Treble Lines whose larvae like Dandelions and Plantains sp so they have no shortage of foodplants either.

Where to next? Weather permitting we might try the ole mothy again tonight and there's those Manx Shearwaters to try to mop up.

In the meantime let us know what's lurking in the darkest recesses of your outback.

PS bumped into the Pond Trail Officer whilst out on an errand in the village and learnt we missed 45 and 55 Pipistrelles, ie 'normal' and Soprano - the numbers referring to the frequency kHz of the echo-location calls of the two species - as well as Daubenton's Bats by forgetting about the event last night...shame on us!!!


Warren Baker said...

An interesting read on the Moths Dave. I know nothing about moth ID, but I am learning :-)

cliff said...

Four great looking moths there Dave, none of which I've ever seen before, although we have had a couple of the terrific looking Puss Moth 'pillars on our Kilmarnock Willow over the last few years.

Amila said...

What breath-taking beauties you have shown! Many thanks!