A Wet Moth Morning
Saturday, June 20th 2015
The night had been overcast, not too cool and just right for moth trapping. By the time we came to empty the traps, located in different habitats around the reserve, that had all changed and it was wet. Instead of us going to the traps, the traps came to us, on the front verandah.
Moths were identified and recorded as the egg cartons were removed. The minimum number of species stands at 93, but this is likely to increase when some of the micro moths are identified later.
To ensure that we had a photograph of some of the moths, they were taken on the egg carton, not a good background, but a record. Sometimes we were able to transfer them to a more suitable place, although some flew off immediately.
Common Lutestring was one that did not co-operate. It was noted in 2010 and then not again until last year. The caterpillar feeds mainly on birches but has been reported on Alder, Hazel and oaks, all of which are in plentiful supply around the reserve.
Another moth that did not like being removed from the egg carton was Small Yellow Wave. This was last seen on the Bioblitz weekend in July 2013. Field Maple, Sycamore and Alder are the food plants of the caterpillar.
When the moth below was found, everyone said 'Isn't is beautiful!' It lives up to its name - Beautiful Carpet. Food plants include Bramble, Raspberry and Hazel.
A Ruby Tiger moth was removed from the trap and its colours are quite remakable. Some of the trees planted around the reserve have been specifically chosen as they are foodplants of moths. This one enjoys the leaves of Spindle. Records show that it has not been trapped since 2010.
One of the moths we love to catch is the Elephant Hawkmoth. Again some of its foodplants can be found in profusion on the reserve, willlowherbs and bedstraws.
Many thanks to everyone who helped set out and collect in the moth traps and to Charlie, Jill and Alan who identified them for us.
As the rain stopped and the temperature began to rise a little so other insects became more active. It was a surprise to see a bee disappearing into the Flag Iris flower. You can just see its bottom.
The blue damselflies began to leave their perches and move off to hunt.
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