Author Archives: Lynda Lambert

Red Moth with black upperwings showing two red spots on base of wings

Cinnabar Moth. Photo: George McCabe

George spotted this daytime flying Cinnabar Moth on 23/06/19 while walking around Weymouth.

A striking moth with an equally striking caterpillar which can be readily found on Ragwort ,sometimes in large numbers. the caterpillar has bright gold stripes around a black body. The moth has one generation and is in flight mid May- early August.

Box Moth. Photo: Judi Woolven

Judi sent us this photo on 18/10/19 of a Box Moth she found sheltering from the elements on her front door in Parkstone.

I have purposely turned her photo to make it easier to see the resemblance to a bull’s head that Judy spotted.

This is an immigrant moth, feared by gardeners as the caterpillar can defoliate Box plants in no time.

Fox Moth Caterpillar.Photo: George McCabe

On one of George’s daily walks on 23/0/19 he spotted this large Fox Moth Caterpillar at Southdown Ridge.

This species overwinters as a fully grown caterpillar on or just beneath the ground in moss or leaf litter .This one is probably searching for a suitable site as it feeds until September ,only emerging briefly without feeding to bask in spring sunshine before pupating near the ground and emerging as a moth from May to June.

Large grey /brown moth with striking red/black hind-wingss

Red Underwing Moth. Photo: George McCabe

Large grey/brown  highly poatterned moth resting with closed wings

Red Underwing Moth. Photo: George McCabe

George was walking at Bincombe on 27/09/19  looking for Red Admirals when he spotted what he thought was a large butterfly around an Ivy covered wall, so took a couple of photos. He was thrilled to ID it as a Red Underwing moth when he got home and says it made his day!

This species is nocturnal, but can be disturbed during the day.  It flies in August and September, quite common in many places over England and Wales and is gradually increasing its range northwards.


Green caterpillar with a horn at tail end

Lime Hawkmoth Caterpillar. Photo: George McCabe

George tells us that on 23/09/19:

l was up on Southdown Ridge today looking out for Red Admirals, as it started to rain l was rushing home and spotted on the pavement what l thought was a piece of bright lime green plastic, then l noticed it moving l took a quick picture.

George moved it to a safe place getting very wet in the process but #MothsMatter so that was a worthwhile act of kindness.

This caterpillar can be found from June-Sept, feeding on Lime tree leaves, whilst the adult moth is on the wing during May and June but does not feed at this stage.

Large Brown highly patterned moth resting on a window

Old Lady Moth. Photo: Roger Peart

On 10/09/19 Roger found an Old Lady trying to gain entry to his house through the kitchen window!

This amusingly named moth is often the butt of jokes and I couldn’t resist, sorry!

An unmistakeable large brown moth with very broad forewings which comes to light during July-September. It often roosts in outbuildings or old birds nests during the day in a variety of habitats including gardens.

Grey striped moth resting on leaves with wings closed.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth. Photo: Paul Swann

Hummingbird Hawkmoth. Photo: Paul Swann

Paul tells us he joined the very enjoyable Dorset Butterfly  group walk to Winspit on 1/09/19 and said they were pleased with all they saw, but adds:

Saved the best til last though,back in the village,Arthur spotted a flying Hummingbird Hawkmoth which then obligingly settled on an Ivy hedge giving some of the group amazing prolonged views.

Orange moth with a white lines creating a V on upper forewing

Orange Swift. Photo: Martin Wood

Martin trapped this Orange Swift in Wimborne on the night of 6/09/19.

These are primitive moths with five of the 500 or so species occurring in the UK. Adults have no functional proboscis so are incapable of feeding. Eggs are laid while flying low over caterpillar foodplants and the resulting caterpillars live underground feeding on plant roots. The life cycle takes two years to complete with the caterpillars overwintering twice.

A fascinating little moth!