EVERDON MOTHS (JUNE 2007)
By the beginning of June more of the larger, and more interesting moths appear.
My first hawkmoth of the year was the elephant hawkmoth, so called, probably,
because of the caterpillars similarity to an elephants trunk - look out for them
on willowherb, bedstraw and fuchsias. The Latin name for the elephant hawk
moth is elpenor . Elpenor was one of the companions of Odysseus who was
metamorphosed by Circe into swine, and because the head of the caterpillar
was thought to resemble a pigs snout it gained this name.
The buff tip is interesting just for its camouflage - looking like a fragment of
birch twig it is difficult to spot even though it is the size of a mans little finger.
The scalloped hazel is a large and common moth which can be used as an
indicator of pollution in a similar manner to its more famous cousin the
peppered moth. The darker the pigmentation of the moth, the greater the
industrial pollution in the area it lives in. Thankfully this specimen is not too
dark, implying that it is from unpolluted countryside.
The cinnabar moth was an unusual catch, it generally being a day flying moth.
It is well known as the adult of the yellow and black striped caterpillars or
'footballers' found on ragwort plants later in the year. Small magpie moth,
in contrast are often seen during the day, but are a night flying moth. They are
often seen, along with a moth of similar size and shape - the mother of pearl,
flying from disturbed clumps of nettles.
Hopefully I will be able to report more species of hawkmoth in my next update -
however until then I would be glad to try and identify any picture's of moths
caught in Everdon.