Moth research in the botanical garden

This video from Arizona in the USA shows desert moths and butterflies from the Hackberry Tree of Life including Painted Lady, Hackberry Emperor, Reakirt’s Blue, Orange Sulphur, Funereal Duskywing, and Pipevine Swallowtail.

In the midsummer night, 21 to 22 June, one of the activities in the botanical garden was moth research.

With a trap with ultra violet light, close to the lower pond in the garden, the aim was to catch moths to identify which species are present in the botanical garden at night.

The last time there had been moth research in the garden was years ago.

The research was by Wouter, a biology student who had done moth research in the coastal dunes before this.

Wouter thought this should be a good spot, as there were many different plants in the botanical garden, attracting their own kinds of moths. Including water plants at the pond, who have their own relationships to caterpillars of some moths living underwater.

There were two other biology students, who had not done moth research before. One of them told she would soon go to Madagascar for a WWF coral project.

In the dunes, Wouter told, with three moth traps one can sometimes catch 900 moths a night.

The lights also attract other insects, and insect-eating animals like natterjack toads and bats.

After the trap light went on, tonight the first insect caught was not a moth, but a parasitic wasp.

It was not completely dark yet, and many moths start flying only when the night has really started.

After the parasitic wasp came mosquitoes.

Then, at 23:35, I saw the first big moth of the night fly into the trap.

The most conspicuous and frequent moth tonight was the large yellow underwing.

Its close, less frequent, relative, the broad-bordered yellow underwing proved that it also lives here.

Smaller, but also frequent here, was the plum small ermine moth; there was also another species of the same genus.

There were some small magpie moths.

A Mythimna was also caught.

The common emerald was also present.

So was the orache moth.

Various double square-spot were caught.

Also: bright-line brown-eye.

The same was true for riband wave moths; one of them was caught sitting in my hair.

Also present: Lozotaenoides formosana. Its caterpillars live on conifer trees, of which a few stood close to the trap.

Among the last moth species which we saw before the garden closed down for the night was the mottled rustic.

And purple bar.

Non moth insects attracted to the light included caddisflies.

4 thoughts on “Moth research in the botanical garden

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