Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Herald and Twenty-plume

This is the entrance to a set of caves which might once have been a sandstone mine. They were definitely used as an air-raid shelter in the second world war.  Now, they are in someone's back garden!  I want one of these.

We looked around as part of a bat survey.  This time, we didn't find any bats here, but there were a couple of overwintering moths. 

Herald, Scoliopteryx libatrix.  Chipstead Caves, 24 February 2013.
Herald, Scoliopteryx libatrix.  Chipstead Caves, 24 February 2013.
Quite a few insects overwinter in caves, and the Herald is rather spectacular.  Last year was not very good for moths, so perhaps we were lucky to find this one.  There was only one other, and that was dead and mouldy.

There were smaller moths as well, two specimens of the interesting Twenty-plume Moth:

Twenty-plume Moth, Alucita hexadactyla.  Chipstead Caves, 24 February 2013.
Twenty-plume Moth, Alucita hexadactyla.  Chipstead Caves, 24 February 2013.
Its wings are not continuous planes, but consist of 24 plumes covered with backwards-pointing hairs.  These were both alive and healthy.

It was good to see some summer moths in the middle of winter!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful moths, and a most evocative cave entrance with a lot of history behind it. We have nothing this side of the Atlantic like either of them, though one might think that moths would be quite widespread.