Cooler weather at night means a smaller haul (it was 13 degrees here last night) and there were only 56 in the box this morning: 24 species including 6 new, bringing my 2014 total so far to 259 species.
There were two really pretty moths in the box (I think they're all lovely, as you know, but these two are particularly nice because they are reasonably unusual): a Mocha, and an Orange Swift:
At the risk of boring the pants off you (I'm going to, so best hang on to them if you're in a public place), I've got Rather Excited about the Mocha because it is a) rare, b) pretty and c) I've never seen one before.
This is what my Moth Bible has to say about it: "Resident. Nationally Scarce B. A species of Southern Britain with two main areas of distribution: one roughly following Triassic mudstones and lower lias clay beds (so south devon, somerset, glos and worcs), the other roughly following Cretaceous greensands (southern hants (me), dorset, south wilts, west sussex."
I'm fascinated that the distribution of rare a moth can be mapped according to underlying geology. Of course, geology dictates flora, and this moth's larval foodplant is Field Maple which is largely a southern species, but even so, this is the first moth I've come across whose distribution is described in terms of geology. Fascinating (if you're me). They also (perhaps unsurprisingly) favour long-established hedges and woods, of which there are not all that many left in the UK :-(
The other nice thing about them is their pupa, in which they spend the winter. It is described as 'naked and silk-girdled, attached to leaf or among moss' which I think's quite evocative.
The Orange Swift (the other pic above) is also interesting in its own right, being a member of the most Primitive moth family in evolutionary terms. They belong to a family of about 500 moths (the Hepialidae) who all have elongated wings held close to the body when at rest and no mouth parts.
The Orange Swift is the second type of Swift moth we've had here, the other being the Ghost Swift. Orange Swift larvae eat docks, dandelion and bracken and they over winter twice as caterpillars before pupating into adult moths. They are reasonably widely-distributed in the UK and frequent gardens, so you may well have them in yours if you're UK based, I just don't see them here all that often, which makes them special.
Other Mothy Folk who came a-visiting include....
|Lots of Lesser Broad-Bordered Yellow Under-Wings|
|Maiden's Blush (my all-time favourite moth name)|
|Our Old Friend The Poplar Hawk (x2)|
|Sharp-Angled Carpet (new for the year)|
I've got rid of all my guests and caught up on the washing, which means life is starting to resemble something like normality again. They were all lovely and no trouble at all, but I still ended up in bed and snoring by 9pm from all the cooking, cleaning and simple talking. I must be getting old!
Aside from that and the moths, I'm busily collecting seeds from the garden and our local nature reserve (for which I have permission). I am planning on doing a post about that sometime this week - once I've got my Daubenton Bat survey done and dusted....
I've written the majority of this post with Poppy curled in a ball asleep on my lap, which isn't really big enough to hold her safely. I've been trying to balance her against the table and my tummy with my feet up on their toes for balance to make my lap flatter. This is not the most comfortable position in the world, nor the most sustainable. As a result I am now twisted and contorted into the most unnatural shape while she is completely blotto. She's as snuggly as a pussy cat though, so I don't really mind.
Hope you all have a peaceful evening,