|Poplar Hawk-moth instar larva eating willow leaf
Following the reports of Long-tailed Blue sightings in Sussex that have been grabbing the headlines, I have a long-tailed story to tell. It started on August 21st when the Poplar Hawk-moth laid about 40 eggs in the container I used to show the kids at the Halewick Park, Lancing event (see previous post). I added willow leaves to the container so that the larva would have something to eat when they hatched, which they duly did on 28th. They were slim 9mm miniatures of the large Hawk-moth larvae we are used to seeing, with characteristic long tails. They ate part of their egg, then whizzed about the container but didn't feed on the leaves. I was worried, and added some weeping willow leaves. Then some goat willow. Finally they were feeding on all 3 varieties. I added some poplar leaves for good measure, and these went down very well. So far so good, my little ones seem content with drying leaves and are growing - 10mm now, a 10% increase in a few days! Not looking forward to their school and teenage years, when they will be demanding more space and more food... Moths have continued to flock to our balcony light including a female Orange Swift and a Cypress Pug.
Later I visited Kithurst meadow and enjoyed the view and butterflies.
|Poplar Hawk-moth larva eating its egg, surrounded by unhatched eggs
|Poplar Hawk-moth eating egg
|Poplar Hawk-moth instar larva 9mm eating willow leaf, Laothoe populi
|Poplar Hawk-moth eggs
|Poplar Hawk-moth instar larva 9mm
|Brimstone Moth, Opisthograptis luteolata
|Chinese Character, Cilix glaucata
|Common Wainscot, Mythimna pallens
|Marbled Green, Cryphia muralis
|Narrow-winged Grey, Eudonia angustea
|unidentified Noctuid moth
|Shuttle-Shaped Dart, Agrotis puta
|Square-spot Rustic, Xestia xanthographa
|Vine's Rustic, Hoplodrina ambigua
|underside of Common Wave
|Cypress Pug, Eupithecia phoeniceata
|Light Brown Apple Moth, Epiphyas postvittana
|Setaceous Hebrew Character, Xestia c-nigrum
|Hawthorn Shieldbug, Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale at Littlehampton west bank.