Calling All Moth Enthusiasts
National Moth Week is July 17-25
Hey there, any moth lovers among you? I have to say, the only thing I ever thought about moths before I came to Pembrokeshire was that they snacked on your clothes. It was only after Glenn Ibbitson, very much admired local artist, started posting images on Facebook of the moths he was finding that I realised how diverse these little beasties are. All the images we have here are with his very kind permission.
Moth enthusiasts reckon that there are between 150,000 to 500,000 species and they can be all sizes from minuscule to massive… massive being as large as a human hand. You wouldn’t want too many of those in your wardrobe.
The patterns are incredible, all shades and shapes, and some moths are most definitely nocturnal while others can be seen during the day.
Uncertain how to tell the difference between a moth and a butterfly, I did a bit of research. Apparently a butterfly’s antennae are club-shaped with a long shaft and a bulb at the end. A moth’s antennae are feathery or saw-edged.
Butterflies also tend to fold their wings vertically up over their backs – moths in a tent-like fashion that covers the body.
So now we know.
A lightbox is a good way to attract them if you want to observe them further but please set them free safely to go about their moth business when you have had a look.
Just leaving a light on in a porch after dark is bait enough for casual observation but if you want to go further you can use black lights and mercury vapour lights which emit a kind of light that moths are particularly partial to.
Hanging something like a white sheet between trees or on a washing line is good to shine the light on. Moths can then rest on that surface where they can be observed or photographed.
Going a step further, you can make or buy a box or moth trap. Have a look online for instructions and manufacturers.
If that piques your enthusiasm you might be interested to know that National Moth Week, which celebrates the beauty, life cycles, and habitats of moths will be happening worldwide very soon.
It’s a chance to join with other enthusiasts to learn and share your experiences of these amazing creatures. It is also an opportunity to become a Citizen Scientist and contribute scientific data about moths. Through partnerships with major online biological data depositories, NMW participants can help map moth distribution and provide needed information on other life history aspects around the globe.
To find out more about moths and Moth Week, go to https://nationalmothweek.org/
Many thanks to Glenn Ibbitson for allowing us to use some of his images of moths. He has used these images in his art and they are definitely worth seeing on his website, along with other examples of his work. Please note that all of the images here are Glenn’s property and should not be reproduced without his permission.
Glenns website: https://www.glennibbitsonart.com