Country Corner

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The Angle Shades Moth – right – is just one of a vast number of moth species to be found locally.

Scotland has only 33 butterfly species, yet 1300 moth species.

Despite this, there are far more people studying butterflies than moths.

For this reason, it is still possible for the amateur naturalist to fill important gaps in our knowledge of Scottish moths.

I hope to vastly increase my own knowledge of moths this year, greatly assisted by Santa Claus!

It was he who, assisted by Mrs Hogg, squeezed an ultraviolet moth trap down our lum this Christmas!

Even more unusual, another Christmas gift was a pristine new white double bed sheet upon which to set my trap.

These sheets serve the dual purpose of reflecting the UV light and ensuring you don’t stand on any moths resting near the trap. Not only that, but the pair didn’t forget the most up-to-date field guide with which to identify my catches.

Now it will be a long wait till the spring, when I can begin nocturnal manouvres and catch my first samples. These will be photographed for later identification, then safely released back into their habitat.

How wonderful after a lifetime of nature study,to be starting off on a new branch of the science, which will allow me me to delve and dig and generally lose myself in an avalanche of star constellations, moths and botanical surveying.

Didn’t I mention the botanical bit?

Because most moth caterpillars are dependant upon specific wild plants, it is necessary to identify and map all these plants in order to be able to conserve the moths.

Roll on the spring!

More Country Corner in this week’s Advertiser