The Wonder of the Day

This autumn moth the Merveille du Jour is one of my favourites. Its name derives from the French meaning Wonder of the Day.

The adult moth flies in September and October and often feeds on ivy flowers and fallen fruit.

Its distinct colours and patterning enable it to lie hidden during the day on lichen covered trees.

The caterpillars feed in the spring on newly emerged oak tree flowers.

Four-spotted Footman – female and male

This is a Nationally Scarce A species of moth which means it lives in less than 100 ten kilometre squares in the UK. I have trapped the male of the species several times before but have never seen a female – I have two in the trap the other night.

The female has four spots on her wings (one is hidden under a wing)

Here is a close up

Here is the male for comparison – no spots!

A Four-spotted Footman and Black Arches

A couple of striking moths in the trap this morning

This is a Four-spotted Footman – it is a male, the females have the spots. It is a rare moth, designated as a Nationally Notable A, it is reasonably well distributed in the south west and I record it in my garden most years. Its larvae feed on lichens.

This pretty moth is Black Arches – a local species residing in the south of the UK. Its caterpillars feed on oaks.

Burnished Brass

Following on from yesterday’s blog about the Beautiful Golden Y, today the trap contained a closely related species – the Burnished Brass, so called because of its shiny ‘metallic’ scales.

It is a common species throughout the UK and its caterpillars feed predominantly on nettles.

Burnish means to polish metal