Lime Hawk-moth ©Gordon Redford, Linford Lakes NR 1 May 2019

Moth Notes 9 May 2019

It is some 20 days since I last penned some notes and for much of that time it has not really been moth weather, temperatures have been low and there has been rain and sometimes windy too.  I have run the trap in my garden every night over those 20 days but have only been to Linford Lakes Nature Reserve on 5 occasions and had only one visit to Hollington Wood.

That said, there has been a sort of spluttering start to moth season proper with the appearance of the aptly named Herald on the 21stApril at Linford Lakes followed on 30thApril there a Lime Hawk-moth, Pebble Prominent and Spectacle Moth. 

Herald moth ©Gordon Redford, Linford Lakes NR 7 April 2019

The Herald is one of a small number of moths that overwinter as adults in sheltered locations such as sheds, barns and outhouses. The caterpillars feed on Aspens, Willow and Poplars of which there are plenty at Linford Lakes.

Lime Hawk-moth ©Gordon Redford, Linford Lakes NR 1 May 2019

The Lime Hawk-moth is one of nine species of hawk-moth that are resident in the British Isles.  There are nine other species that occur as immigrants but the early stages are unable to survive the winter.  The Lime Hawk-moth does not feed as an adult.  The caterpillars are not confined to Lime trees and will feed on Elms, Birches and Alders.

Pebble Prominent moth ©Gordon Redford, Linford Lakes NR 1 May 2019

Pebble Prominent is so named because of the pebble like blotch on the fore wing.  It is able to produce 2 generations in a year, one on the wing April to June and the other July to August.  The caterpillars feed on Sallow, Willows, Aspen and Poplars. 

Spectacle moth ©Gordon Redford, Linford Lakes NR 1 May 2019

The Spectacle is so named after the grey shape, like a pair of spectacles or goggles visible on the thorax when viewed front on.  Like the Pebble Prominent, the Spectacle has two generations spanning April to September. The food plant of the caterpillars is Common Nettle.

1 Day old Emperor caterpillars. ©Gordon Redford, Newport Pagnell 5 May 2019

On Moth Notes of 29thMarch, I wrote about Emperor Moths and showed a photograph of some eggs that had been laid after moths had mated.  Well, on Saturday, 4thMay there was great joy and excitement in the Redford household because the eggs began to hatch.  The caterpillars are about 2mm long and as the photograph shows have shiny black heads, black bodies with short black hairs. They will just eat and eat now till around August.  

Text and photos kindly supplied by Gordon Redford. Click here to read the previous edition of Moth Notes


  • Herald moth
  • Lime Hawk-moth
  • Pebble Prominent
  • Spectacle
  • 1 day old Emperor caterpillars