Influx of rare and spectacular moths heading to Britain, say experts

Sarah Knapton
A silver-striped hawk moth - Butterfly Conservation 

Britain for an influx of rare and spectacular moths over the next few days as warm continental weather draws hungry insects looking for ivy to feed on.

The scarce Silver-striped Hawk-moth and Radford's Flame Shoulder have already been seen in recent days but are likely to be joined by species such as the giant Convolvulus Hawk-moth and Humming-bird Hawk-moth.

As part of this year’s Moth Night, an annual UK-wide event to record moths, the public is being asked to count some of the moths in their ivy patches.

As well as the European visitors, others present at this time of year include the Pink-barred Sallow, Angle Shades, Green-brindled Crescent, Yellow-line Quaker and Lunar Underwing.

Butterfly Conservation Head of Recording, Richard Fox said: “A quick check of ivy blossom on a sunny autumn day will reveal bees, hoverflies, butterflies and other insects, all making the most of this seasonal bonanza of nectar.

“After dark, the pollinator nightshift takes place and a myriad of moths come out to feed.

“For this year’s Moth Night, find some big patches of ivy flowers nearby and go back with a torch after the sun has set. It’s a fantastic and easy way to see some of the beautiful moths that are on the wing in autumn.”

Ecologist at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Marc Botham said “There are a fantastic range of autumnal moths in the UK, a number of which are declining. They provide food for many other animals especially those feeding up for winter when food is scarce. National Moth Night will provide important data to help determine the status of some of these species.”

Moth Night 2017 runs from 12 to 14 October and will include moth trapping events across the UK.

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