Monday, 4 June 2012

Other Flying Beings

So this post is not about birds, but about some interesting flying creatures I have found over the last week. These are creatures I know virtually nothing about, and my iPhone just about records a picture adequate enough for me to I.D them at home. So first of all was this White Ermine Moth I found on my friends patio doors. These little wonders aren't particularly rare, but that doesn't make them any less exquisite. The degree of speckling can vary greatly depending on where you are in the country; this is an example from Herefordshire! These night-flyer's are also poisonous, and thus are not at risk of being eaten, perhaps why this one was so happy to be hanging out in the sun.

My next find was not far from home, in Rewell Wood in Sussex. I have been working on the site for the last few weeks, and have been permanently surrounded by Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterflies. These butterflies are a priority BAP species since populations have been declining dramatically. Common Dog-Violet is the caterpillars favoured foodplant, but it will also use Heath Dog and Marsh Violet. The adult is less picky, using bugle as their primary source but also favouring a  number of other plants species, including birds-foot trefoil, Buttercup, Dandelion and Bluebell. This species relies heavily on woodland clearings for suitable habitat and nectar, and if these are not maintained and become overgrown, whole colonies of Pearl-boarders die unless there is more suitable habitat nearby.

This next moth was a new one found last week. Turns out it's a Cream-Spotted Tiger Moth. Again, not hugely rare, but the size and colour of this one was really startling! They are also nocturnal moths, and this one had recently emerged as when found it was still unfolding its wings. The caterpillars of this species are not fussy at all, and will eat a variety of plants.

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