Unusual moths from Europe including the scarce silver-striped hawk-moth (pictured) and Radford's flame shoulder have been seen in recent days, along with immigrant species such as the convolvulus hawk-moth and the humming-bird hawk-moth

Rare moths heading to the UK this week

Wildlife lovers across the UK are being encouraged to take a torchlight safari to patches of ivy to spot rare migrant moths this week, as part of ‘Moth Night’.

Unusual moths from Europe – including the scarce silver-striped hawk-moth and Radford’s flame shoulder – have been seen in recent days, along with immigrant species such as the giant convolvulus hawk-moth, which can grow to be as big as your hand.

The data collected from Moth Night, which runs from 12-14 October, will be used to gather vital information on ivy’s importance to moths.

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Unusual moths from Europe including the scarce silver-striped hawk-moth (pictured) and Radford's flame shoulder have been seen in recent days, along with immigrant species such as the convolvulus hawk-moth and the humming-bird hawk-moth

Unusual moths from Europe including the scarce silver-striped hawk-moth (pictured) and Radford’s flame shoulder have been seen in recent days, along with immigrant species such as the convolvulus hawk-moth and the humming-bird hawk-moth

As part of this year’s Moth Night, members of the public are being asked to check out patches of ivy after dark to count moths and help gather more information on the plant’s importance to the insects.

Ivy can provide a lifeline to moths, butterflies, bees and other pollinators as it flowers late in the year when other sources of nectar are not available, conservationists said.

And with warm weather from the continent expected in the next few days, a surge of migrant moths could join the autumnal species such as the pink-barred sallow and lunar underwing regularly seen refuelling on ivy blossom.

RARE SPECIES YOU MAY SEE

Silver-striped hawk-moth

Silver-striped hawk-moth

Radford¿s flame shoulder moth

Radford’s flame shoulder moth

 Convolvulus hawk-moth

Convolvulus hawk-moth

 Hummingbird hawk-moth

Hummingbird hawk-moth

– Silver-striped hawk-moth

The silver-striped hawk-moth is a rare immigrant species, rarely occurring in more than a handful of records.

The most frequent time of arrival is autumn, and the species has been found throughout England and even in Scotland.

– Radford’s flame shoulder

The Radford’s flame shoulder moth has long forewings with small stigmata and white hindwings.

There have only been a handful of records in Britain, mostly in the south and south-west of England, and mostly in October, though the moth flies earlier on the continent.

– Convolvulus hawk-moth

The convolvulus hawk-moth is a large brownish-grey moth with a pink and black striped body.

An immigrant from Africa, some adults fly to Europe, although the offspring are those most commonly seen in Britain and Ireland.

– Hummingbird hawk-moth

The hummingbird hawk-moth is an immigrant from southern Europe and Africa.

It resembles a hummingbird as it flies rapidly between plants and hovers to feed over tubular flowers such as Viper’s-bugloss.

Silver Y moth

Silver Y moth

– Silver Y moth

The silver-Y moth can be found in the UK and Ireland all year round.

It is medium-sized, and silver-grey with a white y-shaped mark on the forewing.

Buttoned snout moth

Buttoned snout moth

– Buttoned snout moth

The buttoned snout moth lives locally in the south-east of England, although it was formerly more widespread.

The adults can be found in woodland fringes, hedgerows and similar places from August to October, after which they hibernate and then reappear in the spring.

Red-green carpet moth

Red-green carpet moth

– Red-green carpet moth

The red-green carpet moth is an autumn species, occurring in September and October, hibernating as an adult and flying again in early spring.

The adult has a subtle combination of reddish and green colours which seem to change in the light.

Common migrant species such as the silver Y moth could be seen feeding on ivy nectar to power flights southwards to warmer climates while ivy could also be important to overwintering moths such as the buttoned snout and red-green carpet to help build up fat reserves.

Moth Night is organised by Atropos, Butterfly Conservation and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH).

Butterfly Conservation head of recording, Richard Fox, said: ‘A quick check of ivy blossom on a sunny autumn day will reveal bees, hoverflies, butterflies and other insects, all making the most of this seasonal bonanza of nectar.

As part of this year's Moth Night, members of the public are being asked to check out patches of ivy after dark to count moths, such as the hummingbird moth (pictured) and help gather more information on the plant's importance to the insects

As part of this year’s Moth Night, members of the public are being asked to check out patches of ivy after dark to count moths, such as the hummingbird moth (pictured) and help gather more information on the plant’s importance to the insects

WHY DO MOTHS FLOCK TO IVY?

Ivy can provide a lifeline to moths, butterflies, bees and other pollinators as it flowers late in the year when other sources of nectar are not available, conservationists said.

And with warm weather from the continent expected in the next few days, a surge of migrant moths could join the autumnal species such as the pink-barred sallow and lunar underwing regularly seen refuelling on ivy blossom.

‘After dark, the pollinator nightshift takes place and a myriad of moths come out to feed.

‘For this year’s Moth Night, find some big patches of ivy flowers nearby and go back with a torch after the sun has set. It’s a fantastic and easy way to see some of the beautiful moths that are on the wing in autumn.’

Atropos editor Mark Tunmore said ivy tended to be an undervalued natural resource that people felt needed tidying away in the garden.

‘Ivy offers valuable nectar for insects, shelter for bats and nesting birds, as well as a source of berries for small mammals and birds. It is also an attractive plant in its own right,’ he said.

With warm weather from the continent expected in the next few days, a surge of migrant moths, such as convolvulus hawk-moths (pictured), could join the autumnal species such as the pink-barred sallow and lunar underwing regularly seen refuelling on ivy blossom

With warm weather from the continent expected in the next few days, a surge of migrant moths, such as convolvulus hawk-moths (pictured), could join the autumnal species such as the pink-barred sallow and lunar underwing regularly seen refuelling on ivy blossom

CEH ecologist Marc Botham said: ‘There are a fantastic range of autumnal moths in the UK, a number of which are declining.’

He said they provided food for other animals, including those feeding up ahead of winter, and the Moth Night survey would help provide data on how some of these species were faring.

Moth Night 2017 runs from October 12 to 14 and includes moth trapping events across the UK.

Posted on; DailyMail>>

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