Sunday, 4 March 2012

Moths of early March

An Article by Heather Martin

On the 1st March with the local weather forecast promising us a mild, mainly cloudy night, Rodney and I took the moth trap to our wood to see what might be flying about. Jim joined us for the evening. Well, the moon and the stars shone brightly and the temperature rapidly plummeted so we didn't expect to record very much but were pleasantly surprised to achieve a total of 14 different species before 11:00pm, when the thought of home became too tempting!
The photos were all taken by torch or lamp light with varying degrees of success.

The Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi) is commonly found throughout Britain in woodland, March - May.
The Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda) is especially common in wooded areas across southern Britain, February - May.
This Twin-spotted Quaker (Orthosia munda) has a pair of dark spots on its wing which makes it easy to identify but they can be much paler or missing altogether, March - April.
Orange antennae give the Yellow Horned moth (Achlya flavicornis) both its English and scientific names. March - April.
March Moths (Alsophila aescularia) were by far the most numerous species to be found in and around the trap. They were all males because the females are completely wingless. Rodney and Jim searched the surrounding tree trunks for females but failed to find any. February - April.

The male Small Brindled Beauty (Apocheima hispidaria) has a very hairy thorax. The female of this species is also wingless. February - March.
And finally, two moths with rather more pattern on their wings - Spring Usher (Agriopis leucophaearia) (February - March);
and the strikingly marked Oak Beauty (Biston strataria) which is common in woodland in March and April.

For more on moths in Sussex please visit the Sussex Moth Group Website for lots more information.

All Pictures by Heather Martin, 04/03/2012

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