A month ago I posted a small gallery of moths that I’d been catching (and releasing) here at Great Chalfield in May. The summer has now arrived properly and a whole host of new species have been emerging since then, with June (and as of a couple of nights ago) some July species now on the wing.
Every month has its own beautiful moths to admire, but there’s no doubt that it’s over the summer that some of the most spectacular and beautifully patterned appear: why that should be incidentally, I don’t know, but I would guess the sudden preponderance of green and yellow species is easily understood given the leaves on the trees and the colour the hedgerows have taken on. As might also be expected, given the number of young birds still being fed by their parents, there are also some exquisitely mottled, speckled, and otherwise superbly camouflaged moths around that typically spend the day hidden against lichens or on tree bark. The brighter more exuberant species tend to be distasteful because of toxins or oils absorbed as caterpillars from the leaves or plants they’ve eaten,and the colours are warning to birds and other predators. The two ‘elephant’ hawk-moths, incidentally, are so-named from the appearance of the caterpillars (which – if you’re being especially imaginative – appear to have a small ‘trunk’) rather than the adults.
On a different note two of my favourite species have emerged this month: the amazing Buff-tip, which typically settles head-down and looks remarkably like a broken twig, and the Buff Arches, which is beautifully patterned and such a distinctive tone of grey it almost looks as if has been modelled out of fibreglass.
Blotched Emerald Comibaena bajularia
Buff Arches Habrosyne pyritoides
Buff-tip Phalera bucephala
Clouded Silver Lomographa temerata
Coronet Craniophora ligustri (two individuals)
Elephant Hawk-moth Deilephila elpenor
Green Silver-lines Charanyca trigrammica
Lilac Beauty Apeira syringaria
Poplar Grey Acronicta megacephala (confirmed by white hindwings with dark veins)
Small Elephant Hawk-moth Deilephila porcellus
The Snout Hypena proboscidalis