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27 May 2019

27 May 2019 – Moths Survive and Arrive

Peach Blossom (Thyatira batis)

It is a wonder that this moth survives to fly into the trap.  The pupa rests either on the soil (or just underneath) during the winter months and hatches to be on the wing in May.   How such a delicate organism can survive on the surface of the soil is beyond me.  Make sure a bramble or two is growing in your garden as that is the food-plant for this moth.  

The caterpillar stays on the bramble while small but hides in leaf-litter when maturing.  This may save it from the becoming the nestling blue tits next meal.  I have been watching the adults feed their chicks in the nest under the lintel.  Each visit to the nest is accompanied by  a caterpillar dangling limply from the adult’s beak – and the visits are like clockwork.  One adult arrives, chicks make frantic noises, caterpillar is taken through the gap in the stone, adult emerges.  The other parent bird follows usually within half a minute.  Then, often less than a minute later, the first parent bird returns with another caterpillar.  Is this a reason why moth numbers are down?  Head for the leaf litter, small caterpillars. 

Pale Prominent (Pterostoma palpina)

The Pale Prominent (Pterostoma palpina) is a common moth but not one to spot easily unless a moth trap is used. It resembles a piece of broken wood and it is not completely clear which end is which. Like the Peach Blossom this is another moth that has an overwintering pupa, the caterpillar feeding on aspen and willow.

The moth below is the Waved Umber (Menophra abruptara), a regular to the garden but generally only seen once a year.  Both moths are described in an earlier post (2011) where the derivation of their scientific names is recorded,

Waved Umber (Menophra abruptaria)


Small Square-spot (Diarsia rubi)

This moth is included in today’s post as it happens to be a particularly good example of what it is supposed to look like.  On other occasions I have been stumped when trying to identify it as the varieties are many.  The small square spot between the white kidney marks is pretty clear.

Eyed Hawk-moth (Smerinthus ocellata)

As this is the resting position for the Eyed Hawk-moth I thought it sensible to photograph it with the ‘eyes’ not showing.  They are beneath the fore-wings and can be seen here.  Like the Poplar Hawk-moth this moth has feet like velcro and it can be very difficult to move if you should wish to see it more clearly.  Treat it with care.

Other moths found in the trap included:  Green Carpet, Flame Carpet, Small Magpie, Common Pug, Muslin (female), Willow Beauty, Common Marbled Carpet, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Brown Silver-line, Common Swift and a few cockchafers.  Moth numbers are looking up.