Saturday, 13 July 2013

Beware - we are being invaded by rednecks!

Yes, it does sound as if we are being invaded by hillbilly servant  types from the American south – incidentally called “Rednecks” because the men who work in the fields generally have the skin on the back of their necks burnt red by the sun – but in fact I am referring to a moth! The common name footman comes from a supposed resemblance to the uniform of such a servant, but you need to use your imagination if you are to see this link I reckon.
The Red-necked footman is a resident moth, however its numbers can be boosted by immigrant moths crossing the channel, and I suspect that is what is happening right now during this hot spell we are all enjoying. I have caught 3 of these distinctive moths in the last few weeks and yet I have previously only ever caught 3 in total! The Footman family of moths is comprised of around 17 or so members in this country and are of particular interest in that most of the caterpillars feed on Lichens or green algae growing on trees.
Many people are amazed when I tell them that loads of different moths and butterflies cross over the channel – some species originating from as far away as northern Africa! I have already seen a Humming bird Hawkmoth and lots of Silver Y this year which have arrived here recently from overseas.
So, keep a good eye open over the next few weeks and see if you can spot any of these “invaders”!     
Silver Y moth - which you can see on it's side!

A Humming bird hawkmoth

Red-necked footman 

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