It is Lepidoptera season! July through to August are the best months for spotting these insects on the wing and observing the multifarious and mysterious larval forms.
We have had two great stories this week...
Here at the Centre for UK Biodiversity we welcome anyone with an interest in natural history, to come and use our UK reference collections and library resources to identify their finds, solve a taxonomic puzzle, and satisfy their curiousity.
This happened this week with the Welsh Wave, Venusia cambrica Family Geometridae, found in London nr. Wimbledon. Wimbledon? Surely not! This species likes a hilly terrain and is found in the North of England and Wales, and Scotland and Ireland. Its English South West distribution doesn't include London (obviously!). By using our reference collections the lepidopterists amongst us agreed it was indeed the Welsh Wave!
We have posted it on our forums here.
Next up is the Jersey Tiger, Euplagia quadripunctaria Family Arctiidae
This striking day flying moth gets its name from its once Channel Island and South East coast only distribution - oh, and that it has tiger stripes on its forewings - but you knew that!
This is a successful species whose distribution is changing relatively quickly, now found in parts of Dorset, Devon and even the Isle of Wight - but London? How did it make the leap from South coast to London without filling in its geographical range as it went? It's possible this was an accidental introduction and now there is a thriving localised population; this week a confirmed sighting in SE3!
The best sighting though has to come from Jack, aged 90 no less, who wrote us this charming letter, and unless anyone can put me right, I reckon this is the Jersey Tiger!