Sunday, 24 December 2006

The Passenger (Dysgonia algira)

One of my hobbies is "mothing". This involves attracting moths to a light trap and then identifying the species that have arrived. I normally photograph the interesting ones and then put them into a large holding box filled with egg-boxes before letting them go in the evening. For convenience sake lepidopterists divide moths into macros and micros, essentially big ones, easier to identify (but not always!) and little ones (often difficult to sort out to species). This year I caught 279 species of macros and 82 of micros (I didn't try very hard with these). It was a very good year for migrants, some perhaps originating for eastern Europe or North Africa, and the one above, The Passenger was the rarest one I caught. There were several of these found in Kent this year, this was about the 15 ever in the country, so 2006 was a bumper year. I don't normally do much "mothing" in the winter, although there are a few species that brave the cold and only appear at this time of year, so I will run the moth trap occasionally when it's mild.

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