Friday, 25 April 2014


A couple of MV lights run for three hours at Round Wood near Barton Hartshorn, Bucks last night produced just over 20 species but there was little of note in the catch.  Numbers of individuals were not high either, with Epinotia immundana (25) and Pebble Prominent (18) being the only species present in any quantity.  It was nice to see a pristine Seraphim out already but pride of place goes to the female Emperor Moth illustrated below, an early visitor to one trap who promptly laid 50+ eggs. 

Assuming that the eggs are fertile, that should ensure a continued supply of moths to "assemble" with in 2015.  I was away on holiday during the main emergence period this year so gave away the majority of my cocoons to others, but I've had one female emerge since my return and she is still awaiting a mate after four days despite visits to normally productive sites.  As Marc Botham has already mentioned, "assembling" (the attraction of wild males to a captive virgin female) has been particularly difficult locally this season, at least in Bucks and Oxon where this lovely moth is known to be quite widespread but only in small numbers.  Maybe the poor spring weather in 2013 had a significant effect on the species.  They can over-winter twice or even three times in the pupal stage so perhaps we'll see an improvement next year.

Dave Wilton

Emperor Moth, Barton Hartshorn 24th April

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