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saving butterflies, moths and our environment
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Moths of the month: May 2009

This is a monthly series illustrating several characteristic moths to look out for in our area. Text and photos by Roy Leverton.

You can also view the other months by selecting the links at the bottom of this page.

   
Ruby Tiger, Phragmatobia fuliginosa (photo by Roy Leverton)

Ruby Tiger, Phragmatobia fuliginosa borealis

May into June.

Heather moorland, coasts, other open habitats.

Smaller and duller than its relatives, this tiger moth is less often seen than its hairy caterpillar, despite being mainly diurnal in the Highlands.

Click on the image to enlarge it.


Garden Carpet, Xanthorhoe fluctuata (photo by Roy Leverton)

Garden Carpet, Xanthorhoe fluctuata

Late April to June, then again in August & September.

Gardens, also coastal cliffs.

This carpet moth is aptly named, being far commoner in urban gardens than in the open countryside. Its caterpillar feeds on various cultivated crucifers such as stocks and wallflower, also arable weeds in the same family.

Click on the image to enlarge it.


Pale Prominent, Pterostoma palpina (photo by Roy Leverton)

Pale Prominent, Pterostoma palpina

May into June.

Woodland, scrub and carr with sallows and poplars.

A very distinctive species, with an exaggerated resemblance to a flake of rotten wood. Perhaps because of its camouflage, it is rarely seen except at light. The long feathery palps are found in both sexes, but their purpose is unclear.

Click on the image to enlarge it.


Fox Moth, Macrothylacia rubi (photo by Roy Leverton)

Fox Moth, Macrothylacia rubi

Moorland, coasts, other open habitats.

May and June.

This is another species that is far more familiar as a big hairy caterpillar (see March) than as an adult.

Very occasionally the female (illustrated) can be found resting on vegetation, while the smaller male flies rapidly in late afternoon sunshine, often fairly high.

Click on the image to enlarge it.


Drinker, Euthryx potatoria, caterpillar (photo by Roy Leverton)

Drinker, Euthrix potatoria, caterpillar

Fully grown in May or June.

Tall grassland, damp moorland, marshes

In western Scotland, this handsome caterpillar is a familar sight in late spring and early summer, though absent from the east. It rests openly by day, protected by its hairy coat from most birds - except Cuckoos.

See July 2008 for the adult moth.

Click on the image to enlarge it


  View other months

January - February

March

April

October

November - December

2008: May | June | July | August | September

2009: May | June | July | August | September

2010: May | June | July | August | September

2011: May | June | July | August | September

2012: May | June | July | August | September

2013: May | June | July | August | September

2014: May | June | July | August | September

2015: May | June | July | August | September

2016: May | June | July | August | September

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