Introduction to Moths
Updated: Apr 27, 2021
Hi, I haven’t contributed anything in writing yet to this site, it has been very much Thomas’ wonderful hard work and efforts in creating it. My name is Jerry and I am Thomas’ father and like Thomas, I’m passionate about wildlife, gardens and music. I also love art and carpentry and my ‘day job’ for over 40 years is making harps.
If we are to succeed in our challenge to record 400 species of fauna from our garden, probably at least half of that total will be made up of the moth species we find. Quite often I’m asked what the difference is between moths and butterflies and in fact there isn’t any one factor that completely separates them. There are moths that fly during the day or even a few that have the butterflies distinctive clubbed antennae and in fact some moth enthusiasts make no distinction between them. That said, in the UK we have about 60 species of butterfly that regularly occur but incredibly over 2,500 moth species!
They can have a reputation for looking brown and dull but if you think they are all like that then do watch this space; we can promise to show you some highly spectacular moths from our Surrey garden in the coming months. However, it is true that because a lot of species rely upon camouflage for protection, many use colour and cryptic patterns to blend in with their surroundings.
Some of the names of moths even refer to the subdued look of their appearance, especially a few of the species that we have already recorded this year. Common Quaker and Small Quaker are a case in point. At the time these moths were given their English names, Quakers were well known for dressing in deliberately dull looking clothes. We have also seen a few of the closely related Clouded Drab moths - say no more!
Hebrew Character left/top, Clouded Drab middle and Common Quaker right/bottom.
We attract many of the moths we record using our moth trap. This uses a light that is especially attractive to them without causing them harm and I’m sure we’ll say a lot more about it in future posts. The very first moth to visit our trap this year was a Hebrew Character. This moth also has wonderful camouflage markings but it is so named because of a shape on its forewing which resemble the Hebrew letter 'Nun' which I think I read somewhere means miracle. I wonder if any of our ecclesiastical friends who read this can tell us more!
Moth trap day and night