Moth Trapping

Friday, April 4th 2014

On Wednesday morning we were greeted with the best moth catch of the year so far! Well over 200 individual moths were identified from in and around the trap.

Red Sword-grass was first trapped on the reserve in 2004 but has not been recorded since 2008. This moth emerges as an adult from September to November where it feeds on overripe soft fruit before hibernating under loose bark and reappearing in late March. During the Spring they feed on sallow catkins.

Diurnea flagella, a micro moth, has again not been seen on the reserve since 2008. This species is single brooded with the adults emerging from March to May. Only the males are attracted to light; females differ from the males as they have shorter and have more pointed wings.

This male Oak Beauty is distinguishable from the female because of his feathered antennae. The brown banding across the forewing is a diagnostic feature that seperates this species from the Peppered Moth. Freshly emerged examples can often be found at the base of tree trunks.

Early Thorn can be distinguished from all other British thorns by its resting position, with the wings held up and pressed together over its back. There are two flight generations, from February to May and then July to September, with the second generation often smaller and paler.


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