Moth Night and National Insect Week

1 07 2012

Last week saw the occurrence of two important entomological events in the UK; Moth Night and National Insect Week.  Both are aimed at raising awareness of each group of animals and also to encourage recording of species around the country.  To find out more have a look at these websites: http://www.mothnight.info/www/ and http://nationalinsectweek.co.uk/

FSC Orielton tried to do its bit for our 6-legged brethren and after a still and humid day we set-out our moth trap last Monday night (25/06/12).  There was a bit of trepidation come Tuesday morning, however, as rain was pelting down and it looked as though we’d be finding swimming moths rather than the usual flying ones.  The fear dissipated as soon as the first egg box was lifted though as there were over 44 individuals and 20 separate macro-moth species!  Now, I’m not certain what the collective noun for moths is but I’ve heard of a group of them being described as a ‘universe’ as well as a ‘collection’ or ‘whisper’.  However, in relation to our catch on Monday I’m going to lean towards the more stellar of nouns for what we found.

Some of the stars of this universe are provided for your viewing pleasure.  I hope you all enjoy them.

The famous moth used to illustrate natural selection.

Named for the larvae’s apparent tendency for dew.

Some of the most interesting species we found were those with subtle and clever camouflage or with behavioural adaptations to prevent predation.  The Small Angle Shades (Euplexia lucipara) and White Ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda) are two prime examples:

Notice the colouration and the unusual way the wings are held when resting that combine to make the moth look a little like a dead leaf.

Playing dead (thanatosis) and displaying bright colours as a warning (aposematism).

If you’d like to see more of the moth and other insect species we’ve found around the Orielton grounds (as well as updates on what’s going on over here) then ‘like’ our Facebook page and check out the photos section:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Orielton-Field-Centre/

Hopefully we’ll soon have photographs of all the species that can be found in our neck of the woods to keep you all interested.

Cameron

Advertisements