Wildlife lovers encouraged to check garden ivy for rare moth species
Unusual moths from Europe, including the scarce silver-striped hawk-moth, have been seen in recent days.
Wildlife lovers are being encouraged to take a “torchlight safari” to patches of late-flowering ivy to spot rare migrant moths which are flocking to the UK.
Unusual moths from Europe including the scarce silver-striped hawk-moth and Radford’s flame shoulder have been seen in recent days, along with immigrant species such as the convolvulus hawk-moth and the humming-bird hawk-moth.
And the Clifden nonpareil – a moth which has recently become established from Dorset to Kent – has seen numbers boosted by dozens of immigrants from the continent.
As part of this year’s Moth Night, an annual UK-wide event to record moth numbers, members of the public are being asked to check out patches of ivy after dark to count moths and help gather more information on the plant’s importance to the insects.
Ivy can provide a lifeline to moths, butterflies, bees and other pollinators as it flowers late in the year when other sources of nectar are not available, conservationists said.
And with warm weather from the continent expected in the next few days, a surge of migrant moths could join the autumnal species such as the pink-barred sallow and lunar underwing regularly seen refuelling on ivy blossom.
Common migrant species such as the silver Y moth could be seen feeding on ivy nectar to power flights southwards to warmer climates while ivy could also be important to overwintering moths such as the buttoned snout and red-green carpet to help build up fat reserves.
Moth Night is organised by Atropos, Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH).
Butterfly Conservation head of recording, Richard Fox, said: “A quick check of ivy blossom on a sunny autumn day will reveal bees, hoverflies, butterflies and other insects, all making the most of this seasonal bonanza of nectar.
“After dark, the pollinator nightshift takes place and a myriad of moths come out to feed.
“For this year’s Moth Night, find some big patches of ivy flowers nearby and go back with a torch after the sun has set. It’s a fantastic and easy way to see some of the beautiful moths that are on the wing in autumn.”
Atropos editor Mark Tunmore said ivy tended to be an undervalued natural resource that people felt needed tidying away in the garden.
“Ivy offers valuable nectar for insects, shelter for bats and nesting birds, as well as a source of berries for small mammals and birds. It is also an attractive plant in its own right,” he said.
CEH ecologist Marc Botham said: “There are a fantastic range of autumnal moths in the UK, a number of which are declining.”
He said they provided food for other animals, including those feeding up ahead of winter, and the Moth Night survey would help provide data on how some of these species were faring.
:: Moth Night 2017 runs from October 12 to 14 and includes moth trapping events across the UK.
The Press Association
Latest posts by The Press Association (see all)
- 8 healthy eating rules from a dietician - September 19, 2018
- 10 things two doctors with breast cancer think everyone should know about the disease - September 19, 2018
- From seedheads and grasses to flower skeletons: 6 plants to give your garden winter interest - September 18, 2018
- 6 ways to insulate your home and save money - September 18, 2018
- Here’s how to make veggie samosas from a new Meghan-approved community cookbook - September 17, 2018
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!