Friday, 21 June 2013


A warm and muggy day on Tuesday turned into a warm a muggy night. It was the best night of the year so far to run the mothtrap, and both Graham and I duly switched ours on. In the morning I could tell it was a good night. There were Brimstones and Brown Silver-lines around the trap and a Poplar Hawkmoth resting on a nearby log.

On opening the trap there was a feast for the eyes. I recorded a staggering 12 new species for the garden, with several more making their first appearance this year. The contents of the trap took on an 'animal' theme, starting with this female Fox Moth.

Fox Moth

Next to come were the elephants, with the next egg tray holding both an Elephant Hawk-moth and a Small Elephant Hawkmoth. In total I had three Small Elephant Hawkmoths to the one Elephant Hawkmoth. These moths get their name from the larval stage of the Elephant Hawkmoth. The caterpillar of this species bears an uncanny resemblance to an elephants trunk. The Elephant is shown below, with the Small Elephant in the background.

Elephant Hawkmoth

On the same egg tray we went from blundering elephants, to a kitten. This Alder Kitten to be precise, and in my opinion just shading it in terms of the moth of the morning. As the name suggests the larvae feed on alder, but they will also feed on birch. I have several of both these trees around me so hopefully this will not be the last time this impressive moth makes an appearance.

Alder Kitten

Moths then took on an ornithological theme. Following the Common Swifts that both Graham and I have caught in recent weeks, I had three Map-winged Swifts in the trap. This moth is named due to the white markings on the wing resembling a map. The larvae of this species live underground and feed on the roots of bracken, and with the bracken dominated slopes around my home I am expecting to record this species quite frequently from now on.

Map-winged Swift

There were also several micro moths in the trap, and I am still trying to identify all of them. One which was quite straightforward to name was this Udea olivalis.

Udea olivalis

Finally, as a reminder to check around the trap as well as in it, I found this May Highflyer on one of my windows after I had packed away the trap. As with the Alder Kitten, this moth also feeds on alder in the larval stage.

May Highflyer

When the final totals were compiled, there were 62 moths of 33 species in and around the trap. My highest totals since last August, and hopefully a precursor for more moths to come.

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