Moths

Moths are usually thought of as flying at night but some do fly during the day. To survey moths one uses a sweep net to capture and identify diurnal moths but nocturnal ones usually have to be attracted either by the use of light or by a feed rope.

There are 2400 species of moth in the UK so far over 200 have been identified on Old Down.
These include both macro and micro moths. Many are very difficult to identify but some are easy especially if they are about during the day.

Many moths are white or brown and only look interesting if you get close enough to get a really good look  but a few are much more noticeable
 From May to July you may see the distinctive bright pink and grey cinnabar moth which has stripy black and yellow caterpillars which feeds on ragwort. In New Zealand they are trying to use the cinnabar moth as a method of biological control to stop ragwort from spreading.
 
 Also on the Old Down in July in quite large numbers  are the burnet moth. At first sight they look very much like the cinnabar moth but they have five or six spots. They don't live for very long as once they have mated and layed eggs they die.
 

For more information on moths see the UK moths website here
Or the Butterfly Conservation Trust moth section here

We have been fortunate to have the experience of two local experts to survey the moths on Old Down.  For a list of Moths found on Old Down please see attachment below titled "Old Down Moths Master".  Our 2 experts have also provided us with an excellent report on the foodplant needs of the moths that they have identified and made recommmendations on habitat management. This report is the "Lepidoptera Foodplant Report" below. 
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Unknown user,
15 Mar 2013, 04:25
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