This year Moth Night takes place over 3 nights 9th-11th June, if you missed it last night you can still take part tonight or tomorrow night. Moth Night is organised by Atropos and Butterfly Conservation and is an annual celebration of moth recording throughout Britain and Ireland by enthusiasts with local events being held to raise awareness of moths.
Every year Moth Night has a theme, although recorders are always welcome and encouraged to do their own thing, this year’s theme is Hawk-moths.
Hawk-moths are spectacular, their name reflects their size and their powerful flight, in Britain there are 17 species of Hawk-moths, 9 are residents and 8 are migrants which fly from as far away as North Africa and the Canary Islands, not all of these moths fly at night the Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk, the Broad-bordered Bee Hawk (which both resemble Bees) and the Hummingbird Hawk-Moth (which hovers to feed from nectar plants and looks and sounds like a humming-bird) fly during the day.
Hawk-moth caterpillars are just as spectacular as the moths, you might even call them slightly frightening, with spots, stripes and a spike like a tail at the back, they vary in size from 4.5cm (Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk) to an alarming 12cm (Death’s head Hawk-moth) they overwinter as pupae in the ground below their food plant.
This picture shows an Elephant Hawk-moth caterpillar that we found in our garden in July 2014.
This is what the caterpillar transformed into – a tropical looking Elephant Hawk-moth.
Last night we caught this Poplar Hawk-moth in our trap.
This stunning Lime Hawk-moth was caught in the trap on Tuesday night it is a new species for us and we were very excited.
You can take part in Moth Night in any way you choose, this might involve having a moth-trap in your garden or in the countryside, looking for moths at your kitchen window or at blossom, attending a public event, or travelling further afield to search for unusual species. You can still record a variety of species at light without a moth-trap by leaving outside and porch lights on after dark, check lighted windows and lit walls and fences for moths during the first two hours of darkness and again in the morning. Moth Night is a great opportunity to raise awareness about moths, so why not get family and friends involved in whatever you do?
Weather permitting let’s hope its a good weekend for Moths.