Of Moths and Men

31 05 2012

After a period of dormancy (is pupation a more appropriate term?) moth trapping has returned to Orielton!  Thanks to the construction skills of Rich ‘The Toolman’ Edwards we have our own fully functional and, it must be said, stylish Skinner light trap.

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The Official FSC Orielton Moth Trap

As you all will know, many moths can be seen flying around lights at night, an aspect of their biology that the Skinner trap takes advantage of.  The bulb you can see in the middle is a mercury vapour bulb which emits an extremely bright light that can be seen from a fair distance – as anybody in and around the centre would be able to attest.  This attracts the moths who then circle the light and eventually land on the sloping perspex sheets before crawling down through a long opening and settling at the bottom of the trap.  Very kindly, we provide egg boxes for them under the perspex.  It’s not that they are fans of cardboard or anything (more fool them) but rather that the cartons give small, dark spaces for them to settle and hide underneath.

Enough of the mundane stuff, what did we find?  Here are some of my favourites.  Have a go at identifying them yourself and if you’re unsure, hover your mouse over the photos to discover the names.

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Clue: Its larvae are known for being ‘crabby’.

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Clue: One of the umbers.

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Clue: Look at the position of the hindwings for identification.

All in all we recorded 14 species across 7 separate Lepidopteran families: Geometridae, Sphingidae, Notodontidae, Lymantriidae, Arctiidae, Nolidae and Noctuidae.  An alright haul for our first time.

Keep checking the blog to find out about any new species appearing here and, hopefully, see some cool photos illustrating the amazing diversity of the Lepidopteran order.

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