The Mays’ Moths

Colourfull Elephant Hawkmoth

Colourful Elephant Hawkmoth

Pepper Moth

Pepper Moth

Pale Pinion - another first record for the island.

Pale Pinion – another first record for the island.

A Lesser Treble-bar

A Lesser Treble-bar

Saturday 10th October comments:  As we come to the end of our season living out on the island, we turn to reviewing all the data collected over the season and start to write the annual report.  So I have been sifting through all the moth data and this year we have added new species to the Isle of May list; moths that haven’t been recorded here before.

In comparison to other years it hasn’t been great for moth trapping and this is down to poor weather in the spring/summer, power issues and the nesting wrens finding their way into the trap; but considering this it has thrown up some surprises.  With over 120 trapping nights we have caught and identified 77 different species and this includes five new species to the May. One of these was Pale Pinion, a moth that has been only been recorded a handful of times in Fife. The others were the colourful Elephant Hawkmoth, a Pepper Moth, Double Lobed and a Lesser Treble-bar.

It has been a year for Hawkmoths with a Hummingbird Hawkmoth been seen twice and a Poplar Hawkmoth, both these have been noted before but not often.

On the smaller side, two Thistle Ermine were recorded for just the second time on the May and represent a significant Scottish record. This dainty and subtly patterned moth is more common in southern Britain but with another record coming from Fair Isle in Shetland, it appears to have been a bumper year for them further north.

The variety and complexity of Moths always keep you on your toes and it has been a real privilege getting to grips with the Moths of the May this year.

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