By Alex Ainge, Trustee MWHG
Some of our more experienced volunteer Moth’ers (as we affectionately call them) got together recently to identify moths from a local garden.
We are always in awe of the various colours and shapes that occur in the moth world. Infact,“Little Brown Jobs” are few and far between!
Moths are in the same order as butterflies and the Latin name of the order is Lepidoptera (meaning winged creature). Lepidoptera are holometabolous insects, which means that preadults (larvae) and adults differ greatly in form, function, and ecology.
For our trapping, we used a Robinson’s moth trap, but you can make one. There are You Tube videos on the internet giving great instructions. We packed it with empty egg boxes as the moths love to hide in the egg-shaped recesses.
The moth trap gave us 55 different moths this time, some giving our Moth’ers quite a challenge to identify!
Here are some examples:
Mother of Pearl
We did manage to catch one of the larger moths: a small Elephant Hawkmoth (a wingspan of 40-45mm). The photographer managed to take some pictures of it on the Ragwort to show off its glorious colours. Its close relation-the Elephant Hawkmoth- has a wingspan of between 62 and 72mm.
We let the moths go free in some vegetation, so that the birds did not get a good chance at catching them again. Now we wait for another month before setting the trap and seeing what else is flying around. The catch varies with the time of year and most good catches take place between March and October.
I hope these pictures and perhaps this information inspires you to have a go. Members are always welcome to join us for the next moth-trapping session. We have all the equipment and books to help you to identify the moths and you get a cuppa and cake to celebrate the catch!