Mothing in the time of Covid

Thank goodness for mothing…it’s certainly a distraction from the bleak outlook and political bullshine of the coronavirus, Covid-19 debacle. Thing is for much of this year, there haven’t been many moths drawn to actinic light lures that I’ve heard off. Lepidopterists on the various lep Facebook groups and around our county here have been reporting low number and low diversity.

Cream-bordered Green Pea
Cream-bordered Green Pea
Bee Moth
Bee Moth

However, that changed somewhat for my lure on the night of the 75th Anniversary of VE-Day. I’d spent much of the time handling virtual online events, such as my #FEVEG20, but by the evening, just after dark and after a couple of celebrater sherbets, the light lure beckoned.

Female Muslin
Female Muslin
Rustic Shoulder-knot
Rustic Shoulder-knot

It was a still, balmy evening, it had dropped from 24 degrees to around 15 Celsius at 23h00 and there was quite a bit of activity around the lure. flies, parasitic wasps, Bee Moths, Pugs, a Brimstone…a Pale Tussock, and more. There was a stunningly white with black spots, female Muslin on a California poppy stem next to the pond 5 metres away from the actinic. Intriguingly, some of the moths were more drawn to a bright LED panel I was using to have a quick look at the frogs in the pond (only one of the two has been visible this last week, #PondLife). No sign of any Box-tree Moth, the notoriously virulent beast from the East. They will emerge soon, I have warned neighbours who have planted a Box hedge that they could see it ravaged. They make nice hedges but now that this invasive species taking hold across various parts of the country, those hedges will succumb.

Red Twin-spot Carpet
Red Twin-spot Carpet
Waved Umber
Waved Umber

Anyway, the Pale Tussock had been joined by another by morning in the collecting box, there were more pugs, more Bee Moths, and a couple more Brimstone (not to be confused with the Brimstone butterfly). Here’s the full list of the Saturday morning haul; NFY = New for year:

Bee Moth (3), Brimstone (3), Common Pug (4), Cream-bordered Garden Pea (NFY), Argyrotaenia ljungiana (NFY), Eudonia angustea (NFY), Female Muslin, Flame Shoulder (NFY), Freyer’s Pug (NFY), Garden Carpet (2), Grey/Dark Dagger agg (NFY), Heart and Dart (2), Light-brown Apple Moth (2), male Muslin, Notocelia cynosbatella (NFY), Pale Tussock (2, NFY), Rustic Shoulder-knot (NFY, deceased), Shuttle-shaped Dart (12), Waved Umber.

Grey/Dark Dagger agg.
Grey/Dark Dagger agg.
Flame Shoulder
Flame Shoulder

Still hearing from others that they are hardly seeing any moths and yet some people with mercury vapour lures elsewhere in the country are seeing a whole lot more.

Pale Tussock
Pale Tussock
Notocelia cynosbatella
Notocelia cynosbatella
Cochylimorpha straminea
Cochylimorpha straminea

Author: 雷竞技官网

Award-winning freelance science writer, author of Deceived Wisdom. Sharp-shooting photographer and wannabe rockstar.