Thursday 18 July 2013

Butterflies and Moths ~ Burnet Moth at Carlton Marshes

My apologies for flitting about all over the place with my posts at the moment! I am interspersing my Scottish holiday photos with the wildlife I see around me here in Suffolk. It is proving to be a wonderful time for new sightings, not to mention warm sunshine (understatement!).

The Suffolk Wildlife Trust site at Carlton Marshes proved to be a good place for Burnet Moth sightings. We always used to enjoy seeing these dazzling creatures on the cliffs in Cardiganshire, so we are pleased to have found a more local habitat now that we live in East Anglia.

Unlike the Cinnabar Moth (another striking red species) which flies by night, the Six-Spot Burnet Moth is a day-flying insect. It does not always have six spots - I thought I counted more than six - and in some cases one spot will merge into another. These moths live in colonies, and we saw many pairs mating, like the ones above, as we scanned the long meadow grass.  

David striding out at Carlton Marshes ...

According to the Arkive site, wild thyme is one of the moth's favourite foods. I did not see any thyme, but the moths seemed quite content with thistle, a variety of purple vetch and bright yellow Bird's Foot Trefoil, this last flower being the one on which eggs are laid. 

I am intrigued by the little orange spots on the antennae of the moth in the photo below. At first I presumed they were pollen, but then I wondered if they might be a parasite. I would be grateful for any answers!  

I was interested to see this orange moth (below) heading towards the Burnet on its thistle. The new arrival turned out (I think) to be a Small Skipper. It looked like a moth to me, with its furry features, but I understand it is a butterfly. In any case it is a Lepidoptera along with other butterflies and moths.

Strangely, there is a creature called a 'Burnet Companion' ... but I have yet to see one of these moths. The orange insect below is the Skipper again.

Bird's Foot Trefoil, the plant on which Burnets lay their eggs

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1 comment:

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful photos! It is great seeing the colorful bugs around the pretty flowers.