Mothursday: Week One

17 March 2016
Mothursday: Week One

We'll be running a moth trap each week throughout the year (weather pemitting) and I'm hoping to keep you updated with out progress every now and again.

I wasn't too optimistic about this first trap of the season because the temperature really dropped obvernight and I was scraping the ice of the windscreen this morning. However the early season moths are a hardy bunch. Anti-freeze must flow through their veins because we had 25 moths of 5 species in the trap last night. They included Common Quaker, Small Quaker, Clouded Drab and Hebrew Character (pictured below).

This week's Moth of The Week award must surely go to the gorgeous Oak Beauty. Five of these stunners certainly livened the moth trap with their patterned wings and feathered antennae. These moths fly early in the year (Feb-April) and are common across Sussex. As the name suggests their caterpillars munch on oaks but also feed on a wide range of other broadleaved trees too.

The scientific names of moths are all rather fanciful. In the case of the Oak Beauty its scientific name Biston strataria refers to the mythological founder of the Bistones; a warring, hedonistic tribe who dwelt between Mount Rhodope and the Aegean Sea. A bit like the Dothraki in Game of Thrones I'd imagine. Not quite sure what that has to do with this moth but the strataria part of its name means quilt and I'll concede that it does indeed look a bit quilty.

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