Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and our environment
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saving butterflies, moths and our environment
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Moths of the month: June 2012

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.

Cabbage Moth (R Leverton)

Cabbage Moth Mamestra brassicae

May into August, probably in one extended brood.

Arable farmland, suburban gardens, allotments, brownfield sites.

In the southern half of Britain, Cabbage Moth is common enough to be a minor garden pest, but further north it is much less frequent. In our area it is mainly eastern, confined to lower ground, and never very numerous.

Its caterpillar feeds on many low-growing plants, though it does have a fondness for the hearts of cabbages.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Peach Blossom (R Leverton)

Peach Blossom Thyatira batis

Late May into early August, in one extended brood.

Woodland rides and glades, hedgerows, sometimes gardens where raspberries are grown.

No other British moth resembles this, making it genuinely unmistakable. Its pattern presumably aids concealment when resting in dappled shade, for it is rarely found by day.

At dusk it flies quite slowly, visiting 'sugar' and honeydew more than flowers, but not often coming to light.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Flame Shoulder (R Leverton)

Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta

Late May to early August.

Woodland, meadows, road verges, rural gardens.

Though absent from the higher ground, Flame Shoulder is a common species throughout Britain, with its caterpillar feeding on numerous low plants such as dockens.

While double-brooded further south, in our shorter northern summers it has one extended single brood instead.

The adult hides in low vegetation and is rarely found by day, but is often abundant at 'sugar' and in the light trap. A particularly colourful individual is illustrated here.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Sallow Kitten (R Leverton)

Sallow Kitten Furcula furcula

Mid May through July.

Damp woodland, wet moorland and carr.

The kittens are much smaller relatives of the Puss Moth - perhaps a rare attempt at humour in the normally serious business of nomenclature! Of the three British species, only Sallow Kitten is found in Scotland.

As its name suggests, the main larval foodplant is sallow, including small bushes of Salix aurita in moorland as well as taller trees in woodland.

Like most prominents, caterpillars are easier to find than the adults, which are rarely seen except in light traps.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

Common Wave (R Leverton)

Common Wave Cabera exanthemata

Late May through July.

Damp woodland and carr.

This is another species associated with sallow, occupying similar habitats to the last. However, it is more widespread and numerous, as well as being readily found by day.

Again, in Scotland there is one extended brood, compared with two broods further south.

Adults rest in the foliage of trees and bushes and are easily disturbed into flight. At night they are strongly attracted to light, but less often visit flowers or 'sugar'.

Click on the image to enlarge it.

View other months

January - February




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

2017: May | June | July | August

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