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A Long Time

Friday, June 4th 2021

Weather plays an important part in all living things lives.  We seem to have waited a long time for the return of animals that we unscientifically classify as 'bugs, beasties and creepy crawlies'!

It is always interesting to look back into our species records when something out of the ordinary is spotted.  Volunteers out looking for butterflies, spotted a moth, near to Spigot Mere.  It was confirmed as a Mother Shipton Moth.  This was first recorded by school children sweep netting on the flower meadow, near the middle moor gate on 17th June 2013.  It obviously likes this area.  Another sighting was recorded in June 2015.

The adults only fly in the sunshine and are easily disturbed as they feed from Ox-eye Daisy, Red and White Clover and other plants.  The larvae feed also feed on Red and White Clover as well as Bird's-foot-trefoil and some grasses.  All of these plants are available on the moor.

This photograph was taken in June 2013.

Buttercups provide a feast for tiny beetles 

and moths, Micropterix calthella.

Once uncommon in the north of the country the Red and Black or Black and Red froghopper Cercopis vulnerata is now commom and made an appearance this week.  They can appear from May and through the early summer months.

The moth traps were able to be set on Tuesday evening, but the catch from both traps was small, but as the saying goes it was quality not quantity.  A Poplar Kitten moth was recorded.  This beautiful moth has few records in our species database.  First recorded in 2006, and then again in 2015 and 2019, but not in large numbers.  The larva feed on Aspen and possibly on Willows.  Aspen does grow on the reserve but is not a widespread species.

Another moth caught was Pale Prominent, again the larvae feeding on Aspen, other poplars and willows.

And finally another moth with few records, but this may be because it does not stay still long enough to get close to even see what it is!  It was a hunt with patience.  The first photograph was of the underside through the Heather stems, really good for ID purposes.  But standing still and watching finally paid off and the photograph taken and ID confirmed the moth as Common Heath.  As the name suggests it is associated with heaths and heathers, the larva feeding on heathers and sometimes trefoils and clovers.


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