Moths

River surrounded by vegetation

 

About Moths

Moths form the majority of the order of insects known at lepidoptera which also contain the closely related butterflies. There are estimated to be 180,000 species of lepidoptera worldwide, although many more are expected to be discovered. There are roughly 2,500 species of moth in the UK which is just a snapshot of all the moths worldwide. Despite this, we have some stunning specimens. Moths are categorised into two groups due to the vast quantity of species; Larger moths known as macros and smaller moths known as micros which can be extremely tiny.

 

Why Record Moths

Moths are a very reactive species and are sensitive to environmental change, which is a useful measure of biodiversity. They also have a diverse ecology and live a variety of different habitats, often turning up in surprising places. Many species are declining and are recognised as species of conservation concern, so it is important that they are monitored and conserved.

 

Moth Monitoring at Affinity Water

We have been monitoring moths at Affinity Water since 2016 focusing on the macro species. We have been undertaking surveys using a Robinsons moth trap which is left at designated sites overnight. Moths are attracted to the bright light and the design of the trap captures the moths which take refuge in egg boxes inside. The moths are then identified and counted the following morning. This is the most efficient and harmless way of monitoring moths at our sites.

 

Star Species

To date, 198 different moths have been recorded across a number of sites. Below are some of our star species!

 

Buff-Tip

Butt-tip moth close up

Found in open woodland and a range of other habitats, this moth has a unique resting pose where it camouflages itself to look like the mottled grey colour of the birch bark. This moth has been recorded at a site near St Albans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Merveille Du Jour

Merveille Du Jour moth

One of our most beautiful moths, the Merveille du Jour is found predominantly in broadleaved woodland. This moth is a classic autumnal moth and has been recorded at a site near Codicote.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lime Hawkmoth

Close up of a Lime Hawkmoth

One of the stunning group of moths known as hawkmoths, the Lime Hawkmoth has a unique wing shape unlike the others. Found in a range of habitats, this moth has been recorded at a site near Hemel Hempstead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood-Vein

Blood vein moth close up

This moth gets its name from the pinkish, brown-red markings which form a line between the forewing tips. Found in a number of different habitats, this species is also a day-flying moth. This specimen was recorded at Hilfield Park Reservoir which is managed by the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust and contains a number of rare moths.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jersey Tiger

Jersey tiger moth on a branch

Also recorded at Hilfield Park, the Jersey Tiger is another stunning moth. Originally from Jersey (as its name suggests), this species is rapidly increasing its distribution northwards as a result of warming temperatures with more regular sightings throughout London and Hertfordshire.