Moths Galore!

Saturday, August 26th 2017

Some Wednesdays when we have opened the moth trap we have been a little disappointed with the numbers of moths and species.  This week it was different!  We had some lovely moths and some that we had not seen for a while.

Canary-shouldered Thorn is a beautiful moth with furry yellow 'shoulders' and large antenna.  Deciduous trees are the food plant of this moth, so it has a wide choice at Foxglove.

Canary-shouldered Thorn

Taking the moths out of the pots to photograph can be an interesting exercise.  This Early Thorn decided to fly but we watched it carefully and with a zoom on the camera were able to achieve some nice photographs. There are two distinct generations except in the far north, the first of which flies in April and May, and the second summer brood, flies in August and September.  Again its caterpillars feed on deciduous trees.

Early Thorn

We are double checking the ID of  Plain Clay.  It had been found and had its ID confirmed, locally the previous week by Tony, a Foxglove volunteer who sets out his own trap.  He confirned our ID.  It is scarce in Northern England.  The caterpillar feed on dock leaves.

Plain Clay

It is interesting to check the food plants of some of the moths.  Pyrausta purpuralis's larva feed on mint and Thyme.  There is plenty of mint at Foxglove, but Thyme does not grow anywhere!

Pyrausta purpuralis

Holes in leaves usually mean something has been feeding, but very often nothing is found when they are turned over and examined.  Pauline found this caterpillar of the Buff Tip moth.  The yellow-and-black caterpillars live gregariously, there was only one that we could find, and they feed on a number of different deciduous trees, sometimes defoliating entire branches.

Buff Tip caterpillar


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