These are really easy to rear through,rather than them going to waste. They will hatch in about 10 days and start themoff on the smallest and freshest sallow leaves. Keep them in a small plastic container, remembering to replace leaves and throw out the frass every day.
Don't believe the hype that they will eat bramble and hawthorn once they've tastest sallow, they won't want anything else and will even go on hunger strike! Once they kick in properly you then become their slave. Boycan these guys eat and they rip through their instars to finally spin and pupate on the sticks you have been recently bringing back from the upper reaches of the local sallow, as that's where the freshest leaves are, they've become your pets and they've told you to climb that high for you!
They are a beautiful caterpillar series to go through, relatively easy, a tad less demanding than the wife and you can always release the adults from the back of your garden as, from there, is where they originated.
You'll loose about 25% caterpillars naturally, spray them with water once a week just to remind them about the real world and once pupated, stick them in sheltered position in the garden some where so the poor loves don't get too much of it. Come early April cut the thick cocoon gently with a pair of scissors and place them again in a plastic box keeping an eye out for them to emerge and then release.
A weekend of contrasts ! After two excellent nights each with 20+ species in the trap, last night the temperature dropped to 6 degrees and there were only five singeltons and 9 Hebrew Characters. Firsts for 2008 on the good nights included Alucita hexadactyla, Brimstone Moth, Frosted Green, Swallow Prominent, Red Twin-spotted Carpet, Spectacle, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Lunar Marbled Brown, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Nut-tree Tussock and Scorched Carpet.
GMS 25 April 2008, Langport
A dramatic increase in trapping quality last night. Minimum temp. 8.5˚C.
1, Light Brown Apple Moth 1, Red Twinspot Carpet 1, Common Carpet 2, Garden Carpet 2, Shoulder Stripe 1, Waved Umber 1, Early Thorn 2, Brimstone 6, Emperor moth (female) 1, Least Balck Arches 1, Muslin 2, Shuttle-shaped Dart 1, Common Quaker 1, Mullein Moth 1, Powdered Quaker 1, Clouded Drab 1, Hebrew Character 1, Nut-tree Tussock 1.
The Emperor was a first for the garden and the first I have ever caught at light. It has laid a coupe of dozen eggs.
Mines made by Celypha woodiana larvae are now becoming more obvious. Please look out for this species. Mistletoe in any situation is worth trying, for example I found some on hawthorn hedges recently.
A very dull April's trapping became more lively last night with lovely fresh Brindled Beautys, Flame Shoulder, Muslin Moth and Pebble Prominent. Also my first March Moth for three weeks.
Langport 23 April 2008
At last things seem to be looking up with Brimstone, Knot-grass and Garden Carpet as well as Hebrew Character and Powdered Quaker. The star of the show was a male Purple Thorn - a new species for my garden.
1919 Purple Thorn Selenia teralunaria
, Langport 23 April 2008
Small Eggar egg-masses at Curry Rivel
While walking the dog in Heale Lane, Curry Rivel yesterday I noticed a Small Eggar egg-mass on a Blackthorn bush. I went back this afternoon and found a total of 3 lots, all within an area of about 1 sq metre. One had been damaged, presumably by rain, and several eggs were exposed.
Small Eggar Eriogaster lanestris
Small EggarEriogaster lanestris
egg-mass with rain damage
Small Eggar Eriogaster lanestris
GMS 18 April 2008, Langport
A foul night although minimum temperature was 7˚C. One Hebrew Character in the trap.
A New Book out this autumn
A sneak preview of the cover of a book that will be of great use to those of us who need every aid to identification going in order to make an educated guess at the strange creatures that sometimes turn up in our traps. Sadly not out until the very end of this year's season in November, priced at around £20. Over 2000 photographs, illustrating over 800 macro species plus 500 micro species 74 butterflies and 315 caterpillars.
Scientific paper on Silver Y migration
I have just asked for and received an electronic copy of a paper on Silver Y migration for the SMG's interest:
Wind Selection and Drift Compensation Optimize Migratory Pathways in a High-Flying Moth
Jason W. Chapman, Don R. Reynolds, Henrik Mouritsen, Jane K. Hill, Joe R. Riley,1 Duncan Sivell, Alan D. Smith and Ian P. Woiwod.
If anyone would like an electronic copy, please let me know. 10 pages in total including supplementary data, about 500Kb.
GMS 11 Apr 2008, Langport
Not as unpleasant a night as Peter had but still not very productive. Min temp 4˚C; Powdered Quaker 5, Hebrew Character 3, Early Grey 1.
GMS 11 April 2008
Torrential rain and only three species in the trap :- Hebrew Character, Common Quaker and a first for my garden in ten years trapping here a Dotted Chestnut, though I have caught it in the local wood on three occasions.
Not moths, but ..
Not moths - but we saw a flock of over 30 Fieldfare and 3 Swallows in Langport today. I've never seen these species overlapping before.
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe - Garden Moth Survey - 4 April 2008
I did not put my trap out on March 28th, the fourth week of GMS, because of high wind and heavy rain but the weather on the night of April 4th was not so bad with a minimum temperature of 8C and 18 specimens.
Oak Beauty, Clouded Drab,Hebrew Character, Small Quaker, Common Quaker, Shoulder Stripe and Early Grey. There were also two firsts for 2008 :- Streamer and Common Pug. The last named is an interesting record as the books (both Skinner and Waring & Townsend) give the start of its season as May whereas the Mapmate Records for the Somerset Moth Group show that it has appeared in April each year since 2001.
Just returned from a quick trip to Scotland to see three species that have been on my wish list for some years now. The weather deteriorated suddenly this morning with an expected wind chill tomorrow that made a hasty retreat seem the most prudent course of action.
Male Rannoch Brindled Beauty
Female Rannoch Brindled Beauty
GMS 4 Apr 2008, Langport
A poor night, min temp 4˚C.
Hebrew Character 4, Common Quaker 1, Powdered Quaker 1
Despite a windy night on this hillside last night I had two firsts for 2008 - Powdered Quaker and Water Carpet both among the earliest of my garden records.