What's on the wing - Marvellous Moths
Most of us think of moths as drab brown insects that munch our clothes and are often seen alighting on the outside of windowpanes at night, but there's so much more to these generally-nocturnal fliers than meets the eye!
We all love butterflies, but many of us know far less about moths and often don't appreciate them. Not only are moths extraordinarily diverse in colour, shape and size but they also have important roles in the wildlife ecosystem. They pollinate flowers and are vital food for many other animals.
Moths have evolved brilliant camouflage as a defence in avoiding detection by a hungry predator. Some are well-known for their amazing ability to impersonate other animals, some look just like lichen, others look exactly like the bark of trees native to their habitat.
Moths are also useful to us, giving vital information about our own environment. It has even been noticed that in city areas where smoke pollution is strong, some moths have actually developed a darker colouration than the same species that live in less polluted areas.
We recently held our Dorset’s Butterflies and Moths course with David Brown, during which we set 6 moth traps in the centre vicinity each night. With near perfect weather of hot, humid and overcast most nights, the catches were sensational with over 100 species of macro moth caught on two of the nights.
The highlights included a Splendid Brocade, a moth in the early stages of colonisation in the UK following migration from mainland Europe…still less than 150 UK records. Another highlight was the Lappet Moth, a species in severe decline and now only very rarely seen. There was also great excitement to see Gems and Small Mottled Willows, immigrants from North Africa and the Mediterranean.
The extravaganza was shared by locals on the last morning when we held our new Breakfast with Moths event which was a great success, allowing locals and visitors from as far as way as Scotland share their new found knowledge and interest and of course a really tasty brunch from the café.
If you would like to find out more, we have a great range of moth events coming up:
Marvellous Moths kicks off our summer Kingcombe Kids Club programme
Autumn offers an opportunity to celebrate the moths that use fantastic gold, oranges and yellows as perfect autumnal camouflage together with migrants that reach the south coast. We are holding a special Autumn Moths course in October (both residential and non-residential) that will be using up to 6 moth traps at Kingcombe as well as field trips to moth hotspots at Studland and Portland.
We will also be holding another Moth Breakfast in October so if you fancy popping in for ‘taste’ of what the moth world holds together with a delicious brunch book now.