Dark Green Fritillary, Argynnis aglaja

In recent years Dark Green Fritillary butterflies have started to breed in sunny open habitat in the Wyre Forest. The caterpillars feed on violets and the adults are on the wing from mid-June to mid-August. Care is needed to distinguish this butterfly from the slightly larger Silver-washed Fritillary.

Dark Green Fritillary female, Wyre Forest, 14 July 2017 ©Brett Westwood

Pyrausta moths

2 Pyrausta daytime-flying pyralid moths can be seen in Wyre during the summer. Pyrausta aurata, the commoner of the 2, can be found in gardens too where the caterpillars feed on mints, marjoram and other labiates. Mick Farmer spotted this one in Bewdley. The larvae of Pyrausta purpuralis feed on wild thyme and mints in Wyre.

Pyrausta aurata on Origanum, Bewdley, 18 July 2017 ©Mick Farmer

Pyrausta purpuralis, Town Coppice, 9 July 2009 ©Rosemary Winnall

Red-tipped Clearwing, Synanthedon formicaeformis

One male Red-tipped Clearwing moth was attracted to a pheromone lure in Bewdley this week, near the river below the Bewdley bypass bridge. Clearwings were rarely seen before pheromones were developed. These are artificially produced chemicals which are very like the pheromones produced by the female moths, and so they attract the males. All clearwing moths are daytime flyers, but are easily overlooked as they can look like wasps when they are flying.

Red-tipped Clearwing, Ribbesford, 3 July 2017 ©Rosemary Winnall

Marbled Whites

This recent hot weather has meant that many butterflies have emerged from pupation and they have been flying in the sunshine. Mick Farmer counted 40+ Marbled Whites in a meadow in Golden Valley, Bewdley and has kindly sent these lovely photos. We are right on the edge of their range and they have been slowly moving northwards. They were first seen in the Wyre Forest in 1997, and reached Bridgnorth in 2015. They like unimproved meadows with long grass, especially Red Fescue, one of the larval food plants.

Marbled Whites, Bewdley, 26 June 2017 ©Mick Farmer

Marbled White, Bewdley, 21 June 2017 ©Mick Farmer

Marbled Whites in cop, Bewdley, 26 June 2017 ©Mick Farmer

Hummingbird Hawk Moth Macroglossum stellatarum

This migrant daytime flying moth arrives in Britain from southern Europe and northern Africa from April onwards. It can be seen hovering in front of flowers from which it feeds with its long proboscis. Eggs are laid on Ladies Bedstraw, Madder and Hedge Bedstraw and caterpillars may be found between June and October. Mick Farmer did well to capture this photograph of the moth feeding.

Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Bewdley, 2 June 2017 ©Mick Farmer

 

 

Painted Lady butterfly

Mick Farmer spotted this Painted Lady in his garden in Bewdley recently, one of the first to be seen locally. It has flown north from its emergence site, probably in North Africa. This cosmopolitan migrant can arrive any time in spring or summer prior to breeding here later in the summer. Eggs are generally laid on thistles and the adults that result in this country show some southerly migration in the autumn.

Painted Lady, Bewdley, May 2017 ©Mick Farmer

Pearl-bordered Fritillary – Boloria euphrosyne

On sunny days in May Pearl-bordered Fritillaries may be seen flying in Wyre. They are often difficult to track as they fly so quickly like golden jewels above the ground vegetation, but Roger Plant was able to get this beautiful photo of a female when the sun went in and it had stopped for a rest.

Female Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Longdon, 13 May 2017 ©Roger Plant

December Moth, Poecilocampa populi

The December Moth flies between late October to early January. The adults come to light and can sometimes be seen in the morning on house walls when lights have been left on overnight. The female lays her eggs on the twigs of broad-leaved trees. The overwintering eggs hatch in April when the caterpillars feed on the buds and new young leaves.

December Moth, Button Bridge, 7 December 2016 ©Jon Cartwright

Buff Tip moth caterpillars (Phalera bucephala)

Buff Tip moth eggs are laid in batches on various deciduous tree species. The caterpillars feed gregariously in the summer and often defoliate whole branches. The ones shown here are feeding on Hornbeam.

Buff Tip moth caterpillars on Hornbeam, Bliss Gate, 6 September 2016 ©Rosemary Winnall