Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Springtime moth trapping

This week I dusted off my moth trap, which hasn't seen regular use in the garden for a few years, and had only one outing in 2013. The 'Robinson' trap, named after its inventor, runs off the mains and emits light rich in ultra-violet wavelengths, which attract moths from a considerable distance. The insects fall through a funnel and tuck themselves away in the nooks and crannies of stacked eggboxes inside the trap until I turn off the power at first light to inspect the catch. I then place the trap in a cool, dry place for the rest of the day, releasing the moths at dusk.

The night of Monday 14th to Tuesday 15th April was clear and chilly, with a bright moon – not ideal conditions for moth trapping, which tends to be more successful in mild, overcast conditions. On the plus side, there was just a light breeze (strong or gusty winds tend to depress moth activity) and I ended up with 75 moths of 13 species, representing a typical catch for this garden in mid-April. Most of these early-to-mid-spring species are cryptically marked in tones of greys, browns and russets, allowing them to be well camouflaged amongst leaf litter and the still-bare trunks and branches of trees during the daytime.

Hebrew Character
Brindled Beauty
Purple Thorn (upperside)
Purple Thorn (underside)
Common Quaker
Dotted Border
Red Chestnut
Early Thorn
Twin-spotted Quaker
Early Tooth-striped

1 comment:

  1. About time too :-) You got me started on that last outing and mine goes out most weeks now. Good selection of moths there too Tim. I had a very early Spectacle the same night as you put yours out.