Friday, 25 August 2017

Day-Flying Moths

Back in June, Mark & I were lucky enough to go on a course about Day-Flying Moths run by Dave Grundy at Whixall Moss in Shropshire.  It was a great day - we learnt so much, both in the classroom and out searching for moths and their larvae on the Moss.  We were lucky enough to see several Argent & Sable moths, as well as setting up pheromone traps for Clearwing species, finding Bagworm (Psychidae) cases on leaves and netting Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana) on nettles.

Bagworm Case
Since then, we've been much more avidly searching for moths, rather than just waiting for them to come to our trap.  I've searched and searched for a Bagworm case without success yet, but I have found Nettle-tap in various places now.

It has also encouraged us to rear moths from larvae that we have found.  We reared and released a male Drinker moth - Nigel.  Later we caught a female in the trap where she promptly laid eggs. We decided against rearing from the eggs as it is hard to over-winter the caterpillar, so we put them somewhere suitable & hope they will develop safely.  And a few weeks after his release we think we might have caught Nigel himself again - a little worn around the edges.

We might try some pheromone traps ourselves next year & will definitely try to rear more leaf-miners.

Drinker moth larva -" Nigel"

"Nigel" newly emerged

Now that I am keeping my eyes open, I see so much more.  I regularly litter pick in our area, which is a great opportunity to see what wildlife is lurking in the undergrowth (as opposed to the depressing fast food wrappers and variety of drink containers).  I have seen some fabulous things - in one litter pick I disturbed a Mother of Pearl (Pleuroptya ruralis), found a Leopard Moth on the road, and then, on hearing a commotion in a wall of ivy, saw a Large Yellow Underwing emerge with a shrew in hot pursuit. They were both surprised to see me - the shrew shot back into the ivy and the LYU flew off to fight another day.

Litter picking Leopard Moth

So I've learned it's not all about what you find in the trap!


  1. Great stuff Julie! Thanks for sharing.

    Fenn's and Whixall is a brilliant site and Dave's a great moth-er!

  2. Excellent article Julie - we need more like this.

    Dave is such a knowledgeable person on all aspects of mothing, you are in really good hands when you go to one of his courses or workshops.