7th June 2008 National Moth Night Not many moths were flying that night but a Skinner trap in the garden did attract a Light Emerald, Peppered moth, Riband Wave, Oak Beauty and some carpet moths. The first great event was on -
23rd July 2008, Moth Trapping at Catherington Down where more than 30 species were identified within 2 hours, many of the species being in quite large numbers. All captives were released back into the wild, mostly the same evening but the remainder, hidden under the broken egg boxes were released the next day at the same spot on the Down. Where possible a photograph was taken of each species and a selection of the pictures make up the gallery below.
Moth trapping at DPW on 20th August had to be cancelled owing to the very wet conditions. In the meantine the Robinson trap was set up in members gardens on the 27th and 30th July 2008 and amongst the regular visiting moths were Ruby Tiger, Black Arches and Elephant Hawkmoth There were also 5 species of 'micros', 3 of which still need identifying. All have been photographed but still need the IDs to be confirmed.
Moths trapped at Catherington Down on 23rd July 2008
The evening was quite warm and dry with only a slight breeze and dozens of moths came to the Robinson light trap between 9.30 and 11.45pm. The light was positioned approximately in the centre of the Down on one of the middle terraces. Before it was completely dark we were able to see large bats and a noisy Tawny owl fly past. Considerable time was spent in checking identification and all the retained moths taken home were returned (those that did not escape in transit) to the same spot the next day. Numbering from left to right, here is a selection from our catch, I would be very pleased to hear from anyone if I have got any of the names wrong !! -
1. Riband Wave Idaea aversata
2. Ruby Tiger Phragmatobia fuliginosa
3.and 4. Common Footman moth or possibly Dingy Footman, Eilema luridiola or E.griseola (?)
5. Small Emerald on the left Hemistola chrysoprasaria and maybe a Buff Footman on the right (E.depressa?)
6. Common Rustic Mesapamea secalis
7. Black Arches Lymantria monacha
8. Pebble Hook-tip Drepana fulcataria
9. Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta puta
10. Buff Ermine Spilosoma luteum
11. Early Thorn Selenia dentaria
12. Coronet Craniophora ligustri
13. and 14. Spectacle Abrostola tripartita picture 14. showing the spectacles from where it gets its name.
15. Lesser Yellow Underwing Noctua comes
16. Pale Prominent Pterostoma palpina
17.? Mottled Beauty orSquare-Spot ?- an unidentified beauty!
18. Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta
19. and 20. Buff ArchesHabrosyne pyritoides Side view and portrait
21. Scorched CarpetLigdia adustata
22. Mottled Beauty Alcis repandata repandata ? but not the same as 17 !
23. Miller Acronicta leporina Moth took off before I got a better picture !
24. Chestnut Conistra vaccinii
25. Marbled Beauty Cryphia domestica
26. Whit-spotted Pug Eupithecia tripunctaria
Micros. Two of the 8 species in the trap - 27. A Pyralid Phlyctaenia coronata
28. Although small (about 15 mm long) this moth may be a Noctuid.
A full list will be prepared when all species have been identified and confirmed, and after the next session on 6th August 08.
There has in recent years been a growing interest in recording and studying moths. This page aims to describe and illustrate many of the more noticeable species as well as summarise the lists of species recorded at recent moth trapping evenings.
The most noticeable moths are the Hawkmoths and the Dayflying moths which are seen in the urban areas.
Capturing images. The revolution in photography is making a big difference to studying moths. Digital images can save having to spend time catching and bringing specimens home and pictures can quickly be sent to an expert to confirm identification. All the pictures of moths shown here are taken within 3 miles of the centre of Horndean. Under References are aids to identification including websites. There has been a glut of books on moths recently, I have listed some of my favourites, some since 2000, others over 50 years old.
Click on the small thumbnail images to view the photo gallery.
The following moths were photographed in May and June at local 'moth spots' - from left to right
Heart and Dart Agrostis exclamationis, aptly named and easy to recognise WG - 11.5.07
Treble Brown Spot Idaea trigeminata came into porch - 7.6.07
Snout moth Hypena proboscidalis a regular visitor to our porch - 12.6.07
Hawkmoths in Horndean - Family Sphingidae
Privet Hawkmoth Sphinx ligustri
Poplar Hawkmoth Laothoe populi
This specimen came to the light trap on Catherington Down at about 10pm on the 16th August 2006 where it took a liking to Philip, the countryside ranger. We were able to photograph it on his hand, afterwhich it perched on his hat.
Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoth Hemaris fuciformis
Watched 'hovering' and feeding on honeysuckle on the 16th July 2006 along Woodhouse Lane Blendworth bordering Wick Hanger. Unable to get a picture on this occasion as it behaved like a Hummingbird Hawk.
Pine Hawkmoth Hyloicus pinastri
Lime Hawkmoth Mimas tiliae
Seen on Limes in Victory Avenue (not photographed)
Eyed Hawkmoth Smerinthus ocellata
Hummingbird Hawkmoth Macroglossum stellatarum
Frequently seen 'hovering' like a hummingbird in Horndean and Catherington gardens Aug/Sep most years. (no photograph yet!)
Several have been seen 'hovering' in gardens in mid June 2006 and one fine specimen was found in a neighbours greenhouse, saved just in time from the interests of a spider !
Elephant Hawkmoth Deilephila elpenor
Frequently seen, especially the caterpillars usually found on willow-herb but in Victory Ave happily living on grape-vine.
Small Elephant Hawkmoth Deilephila porcellus
Seen in the '80s but not recently (no photograph)
Good Years for Hawkmoths have been 2001 when an Elephant hawkmoth was seen in the garden on 29 July and another on 4 August hovering and feeding on our phlox flowers early afternoon in the same manner as a Humming Bird Hawkmoth which it resembled in flight. Mavis Vigay spotted the Privet hawkmoth in the garden and Stephen Harwood reported Privet Hawkmoths at the north end of Catherington Lane in late July. In 2005 he also recorded a caterpillar and we saw our first Pine hawkmoth caterpillar under our pine tree.
Goat Moth Cossus cossus
This large moth is so named because of the goat-like smell of its caterpillar. In the past the moth did much damage to trees with extensive boring but is today quite rare, I do not know of any records for south-east Hampshire so this is a first for Horndean. It'a great relief that the fine one and only garden tree is still healthy!
Day Flying Moths frequent in Horndean (most seen at Dell Piece West)
Less often noticed except when they fly out of your wardrobe. Nor all small, some such as the Small Magpie are bigger than many macros but I have highlighted some species that are often seen at local sites and two that have made quite a spectacular appearance. The first micro that caused quite a stir was the Small Ermine Moth Yponomeuta species. In May 2003 tens of thousands of the caterpillars started eating up the hedgerow along the north end of Lovedean Lane. This is a narrow road with fast traffic but people were stopping to look at the amazing communal webs extending 20 metres or more along the rapidly disappearing hedgerow ! Here are some pictures recording the event. The last picture shows the same hedgerow in September having made a full recovery. This is not an annual event, they may not be seen again for years.
Another micro often seen in small swarms in local woodland especially Yoell's Copse is Adela reaumurella many males drift through hazel coppice in bright sunlight showing their bright green wings and long antennae.
My first experience of trapping moths by light was in 1940 on Tooting Bec Common, South London where the army had positioned a searchlight and practised with it weekly. This brilliant beam attracted enormous numbers of moths and it was quite amusing to see numerous entomologists sweeping nets on long poles across the beam and occasionally creating an image on the clouds above. The army spotted more moths than German bombers. One of the entomologists was no less than Dr E.B.Ford who wrote the New Naturalist book on Moths.
As there are no exGovt surplus searchlights around I have invested in a Skinner type light trap ( lightweight aluminium folding type with MV lamp) and this has proved on two occasions that it efficiently attracts moths.
We are making a start to record moths systematically and keep records and this web site can help as a central focus for local sightings and moth trapping evenings.
There are four important details for each record :-
This year (2005) light traps have been used on four local sites - the trap set up and organised by the Countryside Team of Horndean Parish Council. Local enthusiasts were invited to attend.
During July and August 2005 some moth trapping events were held using a Robinson type trap with a mercury vapour lamp. At Hazleton Common on the 7th July an early visitor was the new member of the grazing team. On 14th July at Hazleton and 3rd August at Catherington Lith we had an interesting selection of moths visiting the trap. Digital imaging has been a great aid to identification as specimens trapped can be recorded and then released. Most were very co-operative and briefly posed for the cameras. Some of the more spectacular moths are shown here.
Seen on Horndean Down on Butterfly transect on Sun.18th June 2006 were several day flying moths, some shown here, left to right :- Mother Shipton and Burnet Companion, also seen were a Silver Y and a Burnet.
Also an excellent picture of a Cinnabar moth taken by Tony Fry in his garden in Bull's Copse on 10th June.
Moths recorded on trap evenings
Wednesday 14th June 2006 Location: Hazleton Common MR:7035 1196
Wednesday 16th August 2006 Location: Catherington Down MR:6925 1450
The best at the moment is "Field Guide to the Moths of GB and Ireland" by P.Waring & M.Townswend- 2003. with excellent lifestyle illustrations by Richard Lewington, expensive but good value - Br Wildlife Publishing. £29
"Moths of the Br.Isles" by Bernard Skinner 2nd Edn 1998 - Viking
"Caterpillars of the Br.Isles" by Jim Porter 1st Edn 1997 - Viking
"A Complete Guide to British Moths" by Margaret Brooks Include all stage of life history of many species. 1991
"Moths of Hampshire and the I of Wight" by Barry Goater and Tim Norris - 2001 - Hampshire CC/Pisces
"British Pyralid Moths" Guide to Identification by Barry Goater 1986 - Harley Books
I still like referring to the old classic "The Moths of the Br.Isles" by Richard South - 2 Vols Warne - Wayside & Woodland. first published in 1907.
An amazing website with photographs and info. on all species is www.ukmoths.org.uk
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