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7 March 2022

7 March 2022 – Unexpected Gathering

Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria)
‘Too early for moths’ is not an expression that can be applied to these creatures.  
Throughout the winter months many species find the conditions perfectly acceptable – notwithstanding the winds, gales and other tempests that cause such disruption.  
This morning I came upon five moths clinging to the kitchen window frame, all of the same species but varying slightly in colouring and pattern.  They were relatively simple to identify as the marking on the wings and the clearly dotted borders were consistent.  The Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria) flies from February to April and the caterpillars feed on a variety of broad-leaved trees and shrubs.  The female won’t be seen on the window pane though as she is flightless and will remain on the bark of the selected plant.  The scientific name refers to the moth’s ‘wild’ – agrios; ‘opos’ – face; marginaria a border or margin.
A small group of Dotted Borders has never gathered on the window panes before, even when the kitchen light has been left on, but the moth is common throughout the country and evenly distributed.  What its status is in Yorkshire I can no longer determine as the website for ‘Yorkshire Moths Flying Tonight’ is no longer accessible.  A loss indeed.  But adding species number 450 to the list at Shandy Hall is a good start to the year.