|December Moth (Poecilocampa populi)|
A reliable arrival, as soon as the weather begins to turn, is the December Moth. Muffled against the cold it is able to survive despite the overnight frosts of November.
The scientific name makes reference to the larva (kampe in Greek) and its appearance, which is 'varied' (poekilos); populi is the name of the food plant - the poplar tree. The female is much larger than the male but otherwise their markings are similar. Eggs will be laid on the trunks of trees in the garden to overwinter and then will hatch in the Spring.
Below is Blair's Shoulder-knot (Lithophane leautieri hesperica) a moth that was first recorded on the Isle of Wight in 1951. Since then it has spread to the north and is now common as far north as Cumbria having been recorded there in 1996 and finally Scotland in 2001. There were six of this species sheltering under the egg cartons in the trap
Apart from a lonely looking Agonopterix heracliana (an example of which can be seen using the search facility on the blog) the sum total was rather disappointing. The crane flies and the caddis flies have disappeared; the wasps have deserted their paper nests in the quarry garden; the apples (larger and fewer than usual) have been collected for juice and the leaves are being collected