Friday, 17 July 2009

Hawk-moth Heaven

Over the weekend, when loads of people visited the garden I didn't manage a single large hawk moth, but this week I've caught several Privet and Poplar Hawk-moths.

Privet Hawk-moth (Sphinx ligustri)

This afternoon Chris, (her from next door) appeared all excited and told me to get my camera and follow her. Not knowing what to expect I followed in trepidation, but there was nothing to worry about, she'd found a couple of Privet Hawk-moths, in the "act".

They were on the side of Chris's porch and on seemed to be being attacked by a wasp. I chased the wasp away and then moved he moths to a nearby honeysuckle. The mush have been OK as they were still there three hours later. I know nothing about the mating mechanism of Hawk-moths but it does seem a long time for them to be in such a vulnerable state.

Poplar Hawk-moth (Laothoe populi)

Poplar Hawk-moths may not be as large as Privet's but their strange shape does make the very special looking.

The Olive (Ipimorpha subtusa)

Less impressive is the Olive, but this is the first for the Garden and the first I've seen. The caterpillar spins together the leaves of its foodplants, which are aspen (Populus tremulosa) and other poplars (Populus spp.).

Cloaked Minor (Mesoligia furuncula)
The Cloaked Minor is one of the more distinct members of a difficult group. It is commonest at coastal sites. This one was the first of the year.

The Herald (Scoliopteryx libatrix)

I think that this is one of the more spectacular moths that I catch. It over winters as an adult, so I can be seen early in the year, the first this year was on April 10th. I can also be one of the last species each year, although my latest date is Sept 14th.

Moth List As there was a lot of interest at the weekend in the variety of moths that can be seen in the garden I'm trying to do a daily list and today's (last nights, so it has yesterdays date) can be found here. I will also post moths needing identification on this site.

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