|Gold Swift (Hepialus hecta) female|
It took us a while to identify this moth as a Gold Swift (Hepialus hecta) – probably because there isn’t any gold on it. When we finally did make an identification, it was only with the help of the wonderful Mr. Charlie Fletcher, as we mistook the moth for a strange variation of a Map-winged Swift. It turns out the female Gold Swift is considerably duller than her male counterpart, as is the case with many birds and insects. The male Gold Swift spends his time flying around at dusk, spreading his pheromones into order to attract females with his pineapple like scent. Interestingly, the female disperses her eggs while in flight, across the bracken which is its main foodplant. Its scientific name is a little overemphasised, with both “hepialus” and “hecta” meaning feverish and hectic on account of its erratic flight patterns.
|Rufous Minor (Oligia versicolor)|
And with that the number of species at Shandy Hall reaches 429! Exciting times!
Post by: Gabriella Morace [UPenn intern]