Moth Trapping

Saturday, November 24th 2018

We made the decision that we would continue to put the moth trap out on a Tuesday evening, over the winter, weather permitting.  Since that decision was made the moth trap has been out once!  Heavy rain, cold and strong winds that could easily see the trap not where it was originally placed at the beginning of the evening, have been the norm.  I have just checked the ten day forecast and the trap looks like it will be staying put in the Field Centre!  Ah well fingers crossed we may get some good weather.

Looking at the weather made me go back and look at some of the moths we have caught over the year.  

The Ruby Tiger always stands out in the trap as it is very red.  The caterpillar feeds on various herbaceous plants including ragworts and plantains, Heather and also Spindle, which is a small tree.

Ruby Tiger

Straw Dot is a small moth and we caught many of them this year.  Grasses are the main food plant for the caterpillar.

Straw Dot

From late August through to October we may catch the Frosted Orange Moth.  The larval food plants include Foxglove, Hemp Agrimony, thistles and figworts.

Frosted Orange

There are plenty of Willows and some Aspens on the reserve and these feed many species of caterpillar, including The Herald.  This moth hibernates as an adult and emerges from hiberation in March and flies through to June.  The second sightings are between August and October once the pupa has hatched.

The Herald

We do see moths on the wing whilst out for our ambles around the reserve.  The Antler Moth enjoys feeding from Ragwort, and usually sits still for a photograph.

Antler Moth

Whilst looking closely I noticed that this one had managed to get rather a lot of pollen on his antennae.  It is a male as it has feathered antennae.  This increases the surface area so that he can detect female pheromones to enable him to find a mate.

Well pollened antenna

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