Warm air blows in some rare visitors
Another exciting moth species which appeared on Dungeness in recent weeks has been a bedstraw hawk moth. In this country we have a number of hawk moth species. Some, like the elephant hawk moth, are familiar to gardeners as the large brown caterpillars that eat fuchsia and willowherb. The caterpillars tend to wander around the gardens in September looking for soft ground to pupate in.
Bedstraw hawk moths are roughly the same size but far rarer. They have a cream band on the wings and lack the vivid pink of the elephant hawk.
If the wind and the weather is coming from across the near continent, and especially if warm air is coming up from the Mediterranean regions, moths like bedstraw hawk moths can turn up anywhere and, to a degree, at any time through the spring, summer and autumn.
The caterpillars are large, with a hook on the back, but are dark with big spots down the side of the body. The bedstraw hawk moth caterpillars feed on bedstraw species and willowherb species.
This autumn keep an eye out for any hawk moth species and send me a picture if you wish.
For more information contact Owen Leyshon, Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership, telephone 01797 367934 or log on to www.rmcp.co.uk