Thursday, 31 October 2013

30/10/13 Dark Sword-grass surprise

It has been a poor year for migrants moths and is getting quite late in the season so it was nice to find a Dark Sword-grass in the moth trap this morning. It is a regular migrant and can be abundant in some years but is most commonly recorded in the south and at coastal sites. I usually catch at least one or two each year and thought I was going to have my first blank year until this one turned up.

Dark Sword-grass
Dark Sword-grass drinking
I put it on a leaf to photograph it at one point and it immediately rolled out its long proboscis and started to drink some water that was trapped on the leaf. The proboscis was quite long; around half the length of the moths body but there are moths with much longer tongues than that. There is a species of hawk moth in Madagascar that feeds on nectar from orchids and has a proboscis more than 3 times the length of its body. Xanthopan morgani is a large hawk moth with a 16cm wingspan and has a proboscis more than 20cm long which it uses to probe the long nectary of the orchids. More information on  Xanthopan morgana can be found here.

The trap didn't contain much else just a Spruce Carpet, a Blair's Shoulder-knot and 2 Epiphyas postvittana.

Spruce Carpet

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