Monday, 17 June 2013

Moth catches finally start to pick up.

I run a moth trap in the garden most days but it hasn't produced much to blog about as result of the long winter and cold spring. The numbers and variety of species caught has been very poor compared with previous seasons but this morning showed some overdue improvement in variety if not numbers.

On opening the trap the first moth seen on the top edge of the egg trays was a Scorched Wing. This is a local if well distributed species and one I rarely catch. Without looking through my records it is probably only the second or third record for the garden. They are incredible looking things with wood grain type markings and a purplish tinge to the inner trailing corners of the wings. The upturned abdomen means this individual is a male.

Scorched Wing
Scorched Wing, the upturned abdomen means this individual is a male.
The next egg tray moved revealed a White-pinion Spotted on the inner wall of the trap. This is a species that is fairly common in south-east England but is less frequent further north. It is one species that appears to be expanding its range and is also filling in gaps in its distribution in contrast to many other species. I have caught them in the garden occasionally in recent years but it is still relatively unusual and always noteworthy.

White-pinion Spotted
The remainder of the catch was routine fare for the time of year with a Green Silver-lines being the best of the rest. The final tally was 33 macro moths of 19 species which is still poor for the time of year. There were 3 Poplar Hawkmoths but that is not unusual and hawkmoths appear to have largely avoided the worst impact of the weather.

Green Silver-lines
In fact hawkmoths seem to be the stand out species of the late spring and have made up a higher proportion of the catch than they normally would to date. On the 15th June I caught 2 Poplar Hawkmoths and an Eyed Hawkmoth. Prior to that I have caught a few singles of Lime Hawkmoth and Poplar Hawkmoth.

A squadron of Hawkmoths caught 15/06/13.
Male and female Poplar Hawkmoths above and Eyed Hawkmoth below.

Eyed Hawkmoth 15/06/13.
All hawkmoths are usually easy to handle and are great for showing to people.

Lime Hawkmoth caught 02/06/13

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