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Britain's Day-flying Moths: A Field Guide to the Day-flying Moths of Britain and Ireland

Britain's Day-flying Moths: A Field Guide to the Day-flying Moths of Britain and Ireland: A Field Guide to the Day-flying Moths of Britain and Ireland

David Newland
Robert Still
Andy Swash
Technical Adviser: Mark Parsons
Paul Brock
David Green
David Newland
Mark Parsons
Keith Tailby
Series: WILDGuides
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Britain's Day-flying Moths: A Field Guide to the Day-flying Moths of Britain and Ireland
    Book Description:

    This concise photographic field guide will help you identify any of the 100 or so day-flying moths found in Britain and Ireland. Combining stunning photographs, authoritative text, and an easy-to-use design, this book makes a perfect traveling companion--one that will increase your enjoyment of these colorful and intriguing creatures. Like butterflies, some moths fly regularly in sunshine, whereas others that usually fly only at night are readily disturbed from their resting places during the day. This guide describes all of these species, with at least one photograph of each in its natural, resting pose. The text includes a brief description of each moth, with details of its life history, where and when to look for it, its status, the food plants of its caterpillars, and its special features. Introductory sections cover many topics, including how to distinguish moths from butterflies; classification; life cycle and behavior; ecological importance; the impact of habitat and climate change; recording and monitoring; and conservation.

    Individual accounts for some 100 speciesStunning photographs of every moth, as you see themAttractive, easy-to-use, and accessible design

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-4690-0
    Subjects: Zoology, British Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-2)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 3-3)
  3. Preface
    (pp. 5-5)
    David Newland, Robert Still and Andy Swash
  4. The difference between butterflies and moths
    (pp. 6-6)
  5. What is a day-flying moth?
    (pp. 7-7)
  6. Moth biology
    (pp. 8-9)
  7. The naming of moths
    (pp. 10-11)
  8. Identifying moths
    (pp. 12-15)
  9. Where to look for day-flying moths
    (pp. 16-20)
  10. Gardening for moths
    (pp. 21-23)
  11. Glossary
    (pp. 24-25)
  12. Moth families with day-flying species
    (pp. 26-26)
  13. Introduction to the species accounts
    (pp. 27-27)

    The species accounts that follow are divided into eight sections, one for each of the broad groups of day-flying moths (seepages 14–15). In every case there is a general introduction to the group, which includes an overview of the key characteristics of the species it includes. Within each group the species are ordered by family, and arranged as far as possible so that moths that look similar appear close to each other. As a consequence, the order in which the species appear is not strictly taxonomic, although broadly follows the widely used numbering system adopted by Bradley and...


    • Foresters and Burnets Family: Zygaenidae
      (pp. 28-39)

      Foresters and burnets are members of the familyZygaenidae, which has about 1,000 species worldwide. Only ten of them occur in Britain and Ireland: three foresters and seven burnets. They all have long, narrow, brightly coloured wings, often with a metallic sheen. On warm, sunny days they can be very easy to see. In late June and July you will often find the common species flying from flower to flower or mating while clinging to a grass stem. They fly slowly but with a rapid whirring of wings.

      Foresters and burnets would be easy prey for birds and other predators...

    • Clearwings Family: Sesiidae
      (pp. 40-57)

      There are some 1,000 species of clearwing moths worldwide, 15 of which are known to breed in the British Isles. The total number of species increased in 2007 when the Raspberry Clearwing was discovered in Britain for the first time. Another species, the Dusky Clearwing, could bring the total up to 16 if it is re-discovered, but it has not been seen in Britain for 80 years!

      At first sight, clearwing moths are easily mistaken for other insects: hornets, wasps, bees or flies. The essential differences are that they have four wings instead of two, their narrow forewings have a...

    • Eggars, Emperor, Kentish Glory and Hook-tips Families: Lasiocampidae, Saturniidae, Endromidae, Drepanidae
      (pp. 58-65)

      The eggar family (Lasiocampidae) has around 1,000 species worldwide, of which there are only a dozen in Britain and Ireland, and only two that fly by day: the Oak Eggar and the Fox Moth. The emperor family (Saturniidae) has about 1,300 species worldwide, but only one is native to the British Isles. And there are about 400 different hook-tips (Drepanidae) globally but only seven (one a scarce immigrant) have been recorded in Britain and Ireland, just two of which fly by day. By comparison, the family Endromidae has many fewer species: in fact, at one time it was thought to...

    • Geometrids Family: Geometridae
      (pp. 66-127)

      The two largest moth families in the world are the Noctuidae (seepage 148) and the Geometridae, with the order of 20,000 species in each. In Britain and Ireland, there are some 300 geometrids, of which 60 day-flyers are included. Some fly regularly during the day of their own accord, and others are easily disturbed from rest. The intention in this book is to show those species that it is reasonably possible to find if you look in the right habitat; for this reason occasional immigrants are not included.

      Geometrids usually have a geometrical pattern on their wings, but that...

    • Hawk-moths Family: Sphingidae
      (pp. 128-133)

      Hawk-moths are among our most impressive moths. There are over 1,000 different hawk-moth species in the world but only eleven of them are recorded regularly in Britain and Ireland. Of these, three are day-flyers.

      The most frequently and widely encountered day-flyer is the intriguing Hummingbird Hawk-moth. Because it is an immigrant and the number that arrive in the British Isles depends largely on weather conditions in continental Europe, it can be fairly common in some years but very rare in others. At any time during sunny summer weather, a Hummingbird Hawk-moth may be seen hovering in front of a flower,...

    • Tussocks, Footmen, Tigers and Ermines Family: Lymantriidae and Arctiidae
      (pp. 134-147)

      The mixed group of moths in this section comprise two families: the tussocks (family Lymantriidae); and the footmen, tigers and ermines (family Arctiidae).

      The tussocks are a family of ‘furry’ moths, males of which have strongly feathered antennae. There are eleven species in Britain and Ireland, of which three fly during the day. They take their name from the characteristic tufts of hair on the backs of their ornate caterpillars. The most widely distributed species is the Vapourer, the males of which are often seen fluttering around trees and shrubs late in the season, usually well into October. It is...

    • Noctuids Family: Noctuidae
      (pp. 148-175)

      There are upwards of 21,000 members of the noctuid family worldwide. About 400 species are found in Britain and Ireland and, of these, 26 are regarded as day-flyers. They include locally common moths such as the Burnet Companion and Mother Shipton, which fly in the same habitat as Dingy Skipper butterflies, with which they are sometimes confused.

      Probably the commonest of the day-flying noctuids is the Silver Y, which can appear just about anywhere from May to September, and occasionally at other times of the year. Silver Ys may be seen dashing about in a garden or over rough ground,...

    • MICRO-MOTHS Families: Incurvariidae, Adelidae, Tineidae, Gracillariidae, Choreutidae, Glyphipterigidae, Yponomeutidae, Plutellidae, Oecophoridae, Tortricidae, Crambidae, Pyralidae and Pterophoridae
      (pp. 176-201)

      Since Victorian times, moths have traditionally been divided into two broad classes: macro-moths (or just moths) that are generally large; and micro-moths that are generally small. In Britain and Ireland there are upwards of 900 different macro-moths and around 1,600 micro-moths. The division is, however, somewhat arbitrary because some micros are bigger than some macros. Most micro-moths are regarded as being more primitive than macro-moths, as many have incomplete mouthparts and do not feed – but even this is not a watertight distinction since a few of the macros also cannot feed.

      Many micro-moths regularly fly during the day but because...

  15. List of day-flying moths with summary data showing: habitat preferences, flight season, larval foodplants, and conservation status, BAP listing and legislative protection
    (pp. 202-209)
  16. Conservation and legislation
    (pp. 210-213)

    Many of the day-flying moths covered in this book are the subject of nature conservation concern. This section summarizes the current position regarding their conservation status in the UK, the UK Biodiversity Action Planning framework, and the domestic legislation that applies.

    The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, also known as The IUCN Red List or Red Data Book, is a comprehensive and regularly updated inventory of the global conservation status of species of plants and animals. Species are classified according to extinction risk based on established criteria. These criteria include the rate of...

  17. Butterfly and moth conservation
    (pp. 214-214)
  18. Recording and monitoring
    (pp. 214-215)
  19. Further reading
    (pp. 215-217)
  20. Useful websites
    (pp. 217-217)
  21. Acknowledgements and photographic credits
    (pp. 218-220)
  22. Index
    (pp. 221-224)