We’ve had some interesting moths here at the reserve recently. Joan (the Site Manager) and Vicky (the Assistant Site Manager) regularly run the moth traps (they don’t hurt the moths, Joan and Vicky can have a look at them, id and count, and then let them go) to see what is around. Due to this moth trapping we know that we have some of the indicator species that means we have a good quality reed bed.
This one is an obscure wainscot Mythimna obsolete. This one was spotted on Friday 1 July, it’s a rare moth in Hertfordshire! They have a wingspan of 36-40mm, and the adults fly from May to July. The obscure wainscot are found in marshes and fenland. The ‘Moths of Hertfordshire’ (by Colin Plant) reports only 4 records of the obscure wainscot between 1937 and 2006! This moth is classed as vulnerable in Hertfordshire (from the ‘Moths of Hertfordshire’ by Colin Plant).
This (see picture on left) is a reddish light arches Apamea sublustris. They are found mainly in the southern part of England with a few found further north, although this species wasn’t expected around here! They have a wingspan of 42-48 mm and flies in June and July. This one was found on Wednesday 7th July. There have been only 35 records of the reddish light arches in Hertfordshire since 1902 (until 2006) and all found along the north eastern border (whereas we are in the south east of Hertfordshire) – from the ‘Moths of Hertfordshire’ by Colin Plant.
This is a lesser spotted pinion Cosmia affinis. This is a smaller moth than the last two, with a 28-35 mm wingspan. This moth is mostly found in the southern part of England, with a few found further north. The adults fly in July and August and are found in woodlands, gardens and hedgerows. This is a first for the reserve, it’s a scarce moth in Hertfordshire. Between 1828-2006 there have only been 92 records of the lesser spotted pinion in Hertfordshire (from the ‘Moths of Hertfordshire’ book by Colin Plant).
Aren’t they fun!