Saturday, 6 September 2014

Autumn Moths

We set up the moth trap last night. I was a bit skeptical we would catch very much as it's turned so cold and autumnal, but we gave it a go anyway. In fact we probably caught the most moths ever. They were almost all Yellow Underwings and there were hundreds of them.

Heaps of Yellow Underwings in each section of every egg box

Yellow Underwing

Yellow Underwing
We caught a few other pretty moths, including several Brimstone moths, a Burnished Brass, an Autumn Thorn and a few Common Wainscots.

Common Wainscot

Brimstone Moth

Autumn Thorn

Autumn Thorn

Burnished Brass
We also noticed several bird poos on the lid of the moth trap. When we looked closer, they were actually little moths that were camouflaging themselves as bird poo. If you gently touched them, they dropped onto their sides and played dead.

Bird Poo moth (we made the name up!)

Bird Poo moth that has dropped onto it's side and is playing dead
Apart from moths we caught several shield bugs and a big red flying thing (called a Yellow Ophion) that has amazing yellow eyes.

Shield Bugs

#100DaysOfNature Day 45 - Yellow Ophion
We also found a Sexton Beetle in the bottom of the moth trap. We caught a similar beetle once before (called a Burying Beetle) that was all black. This one had vivid red and black markings and it's underside was crawling with little mites. They dig holes under dead birds and small animals so that they drop into the hole. Then they lay their eggs in the dead body, providing food for their young. We let it go in the garden and it immediately buried itself in the grass.

Sexton Beetle
Underneath, the Sexton Beetle was crawling with mites
The Sexton Beetle disappeared off into the grass

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