Monday, 10 December 2012

Subtle as a Brick

It has been rather quiet here on Stretton Moths in recent weeks. What is our excuse? Well, as you may have noticed, the weather has turned decidedly cold overnight, and the moths have noticed this too. Neither of us have been catching too much of interest, I have only been finding Winter Moths, which seem to still be flying in the freezing conditions.

We are not the type to give up though, and with a milder night forecast I put out my trap on Saturday evening. By the time I went to bed there were no moths to be seen, but in the morning I was pleasantly surprised to find four moths in and around the trap. Three of them were, predictably, Winter Moths. The other was this.

A bit of head-scratching ensued. I was not sure what it was, except that it was a Noctuid moth which I had not recorded before. A bit of research and it all became clear, this is a Brick. It is not a rare moth, but it is new for us in the Strettons and a nice final 'hurrah' for the autumn-flying moths (the flight season for the species extends to early December).

Like all moths, this is an incredible creature. The adults have been busily mating and generating eggs in the last few weeks, these being laid beside the bud of the foodplant (such as Wych Elm or Poplar). The larva will emerge in April and spend a few weeks munching on flowers. They will then descend and construct an underground coccoon and pupate. Next September the adult moths will begin to emerge, and the cycle starts again.

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