Amateur moth spotters have been in a flap of delight by the rare arrival of the flame brocade moth and the death’s-head hawk moth. According to Butterfly Conservation this has been the best season for migratory moths for more than five years.
The normal flight period for moths is October and November, but the warm southern breezes have have pulled a few tropical species to our shores. Since the year 2000, over 20 migrant moths have been recorded for the first time ever in Britain and a few of these have become established.
The flame brocade moth was once native to Sussex but now is very rare. A secret breeding location has been established and it seems to be a success as hundreds of the moth has been spotted.
Made famous by as a serial killers calling card in The Silence of the Lambs, the foreboding death’s-head hawk moth has a deep-rooted association with death. The death’s-head has a distinctive skull pattern on its thorax and has been sighted along the south coast at Arne, Dorset, and in Plymouth, Devon. The death’s head emits a high-pitched squeak and in Poland is called the wandering death-bird, its cries were likened to those of a grief-stricken child. the moth can fly unharmed into a bee hive and feast on the honey without being harmed.
Other species lured by the Indian summer include the distinctive crimson speckled, the dainty vestal moth and Spoladea recurvalis, an extremely rare tropical species.
One moth which we don’t want migrating to our shores is the Oak processionary moth. The larvae sheds allergenic hairs and the moth can cause damage to oak trees.