Sunday, 13 May 2012

Please check out those day flying species!

As the days get longer, and hopefully warmer, we can expect to see more day flying species of moths, but I wonder how many of you record these species, when you see them?

Most of you run a light trap of some sort or other and then send me all these records at the end of the year, which of course is great and I really appreciate you all taking the time to do this. However, when we’re out and about we often see day flying species or bump into some caterpillars and it would be great if you could make a note of when, where and what you’ve seen and add this information to your records. I always carry a small notebook and pot or two around with me, as you never know when you are going to find something you can’t id. Pot it up, pop it in your pocket and id it later, it might be something really special!

At the moment you should be able to find the tiny Micropterix calthella, a micro moth which can be found on buttercup flowers on any sunny day and in the next month, or so, the Burnet moths will be seen buzzing around the flower heads of thistles or knapweeds where ever they grow. If you are very lucky you might see a Humming-bird Hawk-moth feeding at the flowers of buddleia or other nectar rich flowers. In fact throughout the summer months many other day flying species can be seen, just a shake of a bush or tap the branch of a tree, this will often reveal a resting species. A walk through any vegetation is liable to ‘put up’ a moth or two; a mere movement along any footpath is also likely to flush something out. Keep an eye open for nibbled leaves, a quick investigation under the leaves or along the stem could well yield the culprit and it’s very likely to be a caterpillar.

So the moral of the story is, you never know what you’ll find or when you’ll see it, but as the boy scouts amongst you will know, (sorry girls!), one of their sayings is, ‘be prepared’, so please make a note of these field records and send them into me with your other records at the end of the year.


1 comment:

  1. Indeed, an excellent moral.

    I really must keep an eye peeled for some of these day-flying micros, easily missed.