I love running a moth trap for two main reasons. Firstly I like seeing animals that I otherwise wouldn’t see – indeed seeing species that otherwise I wouldn’t even know existed. On a mild night the trap can easily contain a couple of hundred moths. Looking out into my garden this morning it is hard to believe that there are so many individuals hidden out there amongst the trees and other vegetation.
Secondly I like seeing the seasons of the year unfold – as we head deeper into autumn new species make their first appearance of the year as adult moths. Of course they have been around all year either as caterpillars or pupae but now is their time as moths.
This is the Black Rustic – the first one in my trap this year – this species is very cosmopolitan in its lifestyle – it is common in gardens like mine but it is also a species of Dartmoor’s moors and Woodbury Common’s heathlands. Its caterpillars feed on heather, tufted hair grass and clovers – thus its ability to live in many different habitats. The adult moths are on the wing in September and October.
In a world where wildlife is in retreat a moth trap helps to show that wildlife is tenacious and that there is hope.