Moth Trapping

Wednesday, May 21st 2014

As usual our moth trap was set yesterday evening; 37 individual moths of 17 different species were trapped along with several ichneumon wasps, beetles and flies.

Scalloped Hazel moths have one flight generation per year from May-June. Caterpillars can be found feeding later in the year on Hazel, Silver Birch, Blackthorn and Hawthorn, all of which are common plants on the reserve. These moths can be distinguished by their irregularly scalloped forewing edges. There is much variation in the darkness of this species though all have a central ring shaped spot on the forewing.

Elephant Hawkmoths are regular visitors to the trap over the summer months and are unmistakable with boldly coloured pink and olive colourings. They fly early after dusk and feed mainly on Honeysuckle and other plants with tubular flowers.

White Ermine are seen from May to late July. This example is a male, distinguishable from the female by the cream colour of its wings. Females have brilliant white wings punctuated with black dots. The number of spots can vary considerably sometimes joining to form black streaks on the wing (and identification problems for amateur moth trappers!)

Thank you to all the volunteers who helped to identify all the moths and to all those who have helped out on various other tasks here today.

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