Moth trapping by Lindsay Griffin

Moth Trapping Event June 2014

 Peppered Moth photographed by David Dennis

Peppered Moth photographed by David Dennis

 Buff Ermine photographed by David Dennis

Buff Ermine photographed by David Dennis

The warm, still weather meant that many moths were flying though Peter and David would have preferred some cloud cover to make conditions ideal. Nevertheless, this was the most successful of all of our moth events and we were fortunate to trap a very beautiful Elephant Hawk Moth and a Peach Blossom Moth. These were all identified, photographed and released the following morning.

Please visit our moth gallery to see the all the moths trapped, photographed and identified. 

This time we trapped 36 different macromoths bringing our total from moth events in recent years to 50. Peter Bygate and David Dennis are now keen to see whether we can record even more and, weather permitting, may hold another trapping later in the year when different species will be flying. They are also keen to see if they can exceed the 100 or so recorded on the Commons by Martin Albertini, the Bucks Moth Recorder and Peter Hall in 1995 although they concede that recording micromoths is probably just too hard. Martin and Peter recorded about 40 of these. 

Among the many interesting species trapped in June we were fortunate to find a Peppered Moth, the moth that demonstrated the role of natural selection in driving evolution. David explains, ‘There are two UK forms of the moth - a light mottled form (commoner in the South) and an almost black form (commoner in the North). There were seminal experiments done in the mid-20th century, which showed that the reason for this was that Peppered Moths in the North rested on trees blackened by industrial pollution, so the dark moths were better camouflaged against bird attack. The reverse was true in the South, so in each case, one form of the moth survived better than the other. By marking hundreds of individual moths and then later recapturing the survivors, it was possible to demonstrate that bird predation was the cause of one form being better able to survive - and pass on its genes - than the other. This had all happened since the industrial revolution, showing that natural selection can operate quite fast when faced with environmental change.’