Hot larvae

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Wednesday 28 June 2017 18:46

Thanks to my school teacher Steve Cooper I got into moths and moth trapping around about age 13. So for the last two thirds of my life I've been moth-bothering, with the middle third involving a lot of moth trapping. The latter third however has been more concerned with recording moths in the field and this involves a lot more micros but also, moth larvae. There are quite a few generic green or brown moth larvae that are really not easy to identify, then there are quite a few that are much easier and really abundant such as Mottled Umber and Common Quaker etc. Larvae are really useful on invertebrate surveys as they show you the botanical associations of the species, as moth traps can suck moths in from off the site you're surveying. The only problem with learning moth larvae is you have to do everything twice, learn the adult and the larva. The other difficulty is that although there are some really common ones, many of them I've only ever seen once. Such as the Brindled Beauty above that we saw at Brickfield Meadow a couple of weeks ago. There is so much going on there!

This one turned out to be Cypress Carpet beat from an ornamental evergreen at a site in Worthing. Again only seen once.

This beauty is the Chamomile Shark swept from mayweed. Only ever seen this once.

This is the amazing looking Black Arches. A moth I've seen many times before, but this year I have seen the larvae twice. This was beaten off oak.

This one took a bit if time and help from Butterfly Conservation, it's Pale Eggar beaten from oak at Ebernoe. I like the repeating pattern of Boba Fett's helmet! Only seen this once.

And this odd little thing turned out to be a Brussel's Lace, beaten from an old Blackthorn covered in lichen at Seaford Head. I've seen loads of the moth, only ever seen the larva once. So get out there and beat some bushes and see what you can find.

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