Monday, 2 July 2018


There are SO many moths about in this wonderfully warm weather which coincides with the annual high noon for the insects very satisfactorily. The only downside is that the hordes are beyond my feeble powers of concentration and patience; it would take a sounder entomologist than me to tell you with absolute accuracy how many Mother of Pearls, Small Magpies, Muslin Footman etc there were in the eggboxes this morning. Fifty of each? Sixty MoPs? I regret that I cannot say for certain. But there were certainly LOTS.

My favourite was the Scarlet Tiger in my top picture, a familiar day-flying moth around here in high Summer. You think that a Small Tortoiseshell or even some kind of fritillary has paid you a call, then realise from its jinking flight that the bright splash of flying colour is a Scarlet Tiger. In my naive enthusiasm for its size and brightness, I resemble my granddaughter whose weekend visited coincided happily with some good example of the hawk moths which she specially - and fearlessly - loves.

I was pleased, too, to show her the reason for the Yellowtail moth's name. We found this apparently white moth crouched on the trap's transparent cowl and photographed it from both above and below. Then I got her to tickle its forelegs and, hey presto! - see below -  That's why it got its name.

Usefully, in my role as natural history encourager, I found a White Satin moth in the trap as well, a species which is similar to the Yellowtip but a little larger and with no yellow. What it is does have, which the Yellowtip does not, is magpie legs - as in the picture left - a fact which the granddaughter brightly spotted straight away. 

Here below is a quartet of pictures showing, I hope, how busy the trap was; and, below it, four of the more interesting of the many, many overnighters.

They are, clockwise from top left: a Herald, a Lappet, a Small Elephant Hawk (this year's first for me) and the cheerfully distinctive micro Acleris holmiana.

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