Tag Archives: moths

Box-tree caterpillars are a garden pest, but their destruction of natural habitats is more worrying

The Telegraph reports if not kept under control, the box-tree moth could disrupt natural ecological balances irrevocably. It now infests most of Europe except a few Nordic regions and high mountainous areas. With climate change it may spread further. 

Photos of box tree moth caterpillar by Frank Van Hevel and box tree moth by David Shrt, both under creative commons.

Moths’ critical role

BBC News reports new research suggests moths play a critical, but overlooked, role in distributing pollen across the UK, which they largely do at night. Their networks are larger and more complex than those involving daytime pollinators. The study found that pollens often sticks to the moths’ hairy bodies during their night time travels. Moths also help pollinate species rarely visited by bees and butterflies.
[Photo of Clifden Nonpareil moth]

Moth populations in steady decline in Britain, study finds

The GUARDIAN reports long-running survey finds 1976 heatwave boom has been followed by dropping numbersMoths are declining in abundance by 10% each decade in Britain but the average weight of moths caught in traps is still double what it was in 1967, according to a new study.

Researchers studying the biomass of moths caught in the world’s longest-running insect survey said their findings suggested that if there had been an “insect armageddon” in Britain, it had occurred before scientific recording began in 1967. 

Huge moth that went ‘extinct’ 50 years ago is back in Britain

The Independent reports a striking blue moth that was thought to have gone extinct in Britain 50 years ago has now recolonised and is breeding, conservationists have revealed. The Clifden nonpareil – whose name means “beyond compare” – is one of the largest and most spectacular moths native to the UK.  

It has a wingspan that can reach almost 12cm and a bright blue stripe across its black hindwings, which gives rise to an alternative name of the blue underwing. These moths have always been rare in the UK. 

Clifden nonpareil photo by Tony Morris under creative commons.