Saturday, 29 November 2014

Smartly dressed for long December nights!

A smart moth - the December moth
I put out the moth trap last night, as the forecast was for a very mild night for this time of year and the winds were coming from the continent, so the possibility of a late migrant perhaps?

The catch was a little disappointing, consisting of 7 December moths and nothing else. Although they are called December moths, they actually fly from October to late January.

I rather like December moths with their peroxide, slightly punky off white foreheads and creamy-white wing markings on a charcoal background! They sort of look as though they have evening wear on, having made quite an effort to dress up smartly for a cold December night.

What is more, the males have stunningly enormous antennae, which they use to detect the scent of un-mated females from several hundred metres away! Having mated, the females will lay eggs on various trees such as Blackthorn, Birch, Oak and Sallow and the eggs will then hatch out in April or May to coincide with leaf growth.

So why should this moth, along with a few others, choose to fly in the winter months? Well for starters, you are less likely to be eaten by a Bat as they are in hibernation and when it is mild enough to take to the wing, you have a good long night ahead of you to find that mate! 

So perhaps not as daft as they may at first appear to be then!

How about these for antennae! 

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