The cold wet weather and strong easterly winds has been disaterous for the moths of the island so far this year. Coupled with this the vegetation took such a hit from the winter storms and high rabbit population that there isn’t much for what moths are about to feed oand lay eggs on. But with the winds going round to the south west and the air warming up suddenly we are getting a few more moths in our trap that we run each night. The interesting thing is that many don’t breed on the island but are blown over from the mainland which goes to show that moths don’t have to disperse just by their own wing power but spread around the country using their the winds. Most moths are adapted to be able to deal with difficult years and hopefully with different conditions we will be getting 200 moths per trap again next year. Here are a few from the last few days.
Light arches – only recorded in one previous year in 2007.
Marbled beauty – a moth that lives on lichens growing on old buildings, rocks and stone walls – habitats we have in abundance on the May.
Brown China- mark – a micro moth that has larval that live under the water in pools and ditches, again something we have a lot of this year.
Campion – in lives on the ripening seeds of the sea campion that carpets the island, you’d think we would have more of them.
Burnished brass with its metallic glistening patches on its wings.
Brimstone moth – only 2 previous records, in August 1979 and August 1910. Its caterpillers lives on hawthorn and related bushes so this one must have been blown over from Lothian.
The true lovers knot – a beautiful little moth that lives on heathland and moorland, its caterpillers are thought to feed on heathers, a long way from the island.
Others that escaped the cameras include a treble bar and the first record for the island of a light emerald, a moth of broadleaf woodland !