Butterflies and moths

Duke of Burgundy Fritillaries

Duke of Burgundy fritillary- copyright Jonathan Pomroy 2013
Duke of Burgundy fritillary- copyright Jonathan Pomroy 2013
Duke of Burgundy fritillary- copyright Jonathan Pomroy 2013
Duke of Burgundy fritillary- copyright Jonathan Pomroy 2013
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Duke of Burgundy fritillary and primrose- copyright Jonathan Pomroy 2013

On a glorious June morning my one year old son and I spent a couple of hours at a site on the edge of the North York Moors watching Duke of Burgundy fritillaries. These rare little butterflies are only about an inch across and lay their eggs on primrose leaves. I very surprised to find the primroses at their flowering peak, a measure of how late this spring is. At least three male Redstarts were heard singing nearby. Add to this the sound of Curlews, a very beautiful place indeed.

Butterflies and moths

MOTHer’s day- 18th March

Plume Moth- 18th March
Oak Beauty moth- 18th March

Two interesting moths by the light this morning. A gorgeous brown patterned Oak Beauty moth and a beautiful and strange plume moth. The Oak Beauty is an early moth, flying from late February to April. This one with feathered antennae is a male. The larvae feed on many types of tree including oak, hazel and alder. The plume moth is species Emmelina monodactyla, whose larvae feed on bindweeds. This very delicate moth has survived the winter in hibernation.

Butterflies and moths

Merveille du Jour

Merveille du Jour
Merveille du Jour

Last year I caught my first Merveille du Jour on 30th September. One day later this year I had the pleasure of seeing my second “marvel of the day”. The species spends the winter as an egg in crevices on its foodplant- Pendunculate Oak. When the egg hatches in the spring the larvae feed in opening buds, feeding only by night when it grows larger, and hiding in bark crevices during the day. When fully grown it makes a cocooon undergound and emerges as the adult moth in the autumn.

Butterflies and moths

Eyed Hawkmoth

Eyed Hawk Moth- bird's eye view!
Eyed Hawk Moth

On the second night of testing my new moth trap which boasts a 125v mercury vapour bulb I caught this beautiful Eyed Hawkmoth. If attacked by a bird it reveals the blue eyes and rocks itself. This has been shown to be an effective deterrent against small birds. The caterpillars of this species feed on the leaves of wild and cultivated willows, sallows and apples. It is not uncommon in the Southern half of Britain, but extremely rare in Scotland. We are near the Northern edge of this species range here in North Yorkshire.

Butterflies and moths

Fun finding Fritillaries

Heath Fritillary near Porlock, Somerset (photograph copyright Jonathan Pomroy 2011)
Small Pearl- bordered Fritillary- Heddon's Mouth, North Devon (photograph copyright Jonathn Pomroy 2011)
Dark Green Fritillary, Heddon's Mouth, North Devon (photograph copyright Jonathan Pomroy 2011)
Dark Green Fritillary (Photograph copyright Jonathan Pomroy 2011)

These gorgeous butterflies were seen during a family camping holiday last week.

Butterflies and moths

Moths in May

Spectacle(top) and Muslin moths
The Spectacle- a very distinctive moth with spectacle like markings above its real eyes.
Buff Tip moth- camouflaged to look like a broken birch twig.

A nice selection of interesting but common moths by the outside light over the last two mornings. This morning we had an air frost.

Butterflies and moths

Pale Brindled Beauty

I found this beautiful moth by the outside light last night. It is one of very few species which are able to fly during the coldest months of the year and I have read reports of Pale Brindled Beauties surviving being completely encased in ice. The other species likely to be seen at this time of year is the Winter Moth. In both species the female is wingless.

Pale Brindled Beauty- 2nd January.