Monday, 8 July 2013

'One for joy'

The moth trap is producing a few new species for the year on a regular basis at the moment but numbers and variety are still well below what is normally expected at this time of year. Catches are around 50 to 75% down on those of a typical July. This morning was no exception with a relatively poor catch but 4 species of macro moth were new for the year.

Garden moth trap this morning with lid removed.
The most striking of new species was a 'Magpie'. I have only caught the odd one in the garden over the past 10 years or so making it a noteworthy record. However this post was prompted by an email from a friend who runs a moth trap in his garden about a mile away. The email was titled 'An AWOL returns' and simply said 'Magpie Moth at my MV last night ... first one here for 23 years (Aug 1990)!!!!'

Magpie (Abraxas grossulariata)
Many so called common and widespread species like the Magpie often only occur at a rather low density and are far less common now than they were 20 or 30 years ago. A 23 year wait just goes to show what a low density can really mean these days. The text books and on-line resources just can't keep pace with the changes in populations and distribution that many of our moth species are currently experiencing. More worrying is the fact that these changes are not being recognised as indicators of the health of our environment to the degree they really should be. For more information on moths and moth recording visit the Moths Count website here.

The other new species of macro moth for the year were as follows:

Burnished Brass (Diachrysia chrysitis)

Pale-shouldered Brocade (Lacanobia thalassina)

Dingy Shears (Parastichtis ypsillon)

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