Moths

A selection of the moths found at Tring Reservoirs that depend upon the wetland habitat.
 
 Drinker Euthrix potatoria

A member of the Eggar family which are notable for large feathered antennae on the males. The males use the antennae to detect female pheremones (scent) so they can find them to mate.

Drinker moths are plentiful at Wilstone Reservoir and are on the wing during July and August. The caterpillars feed on rough grass, reeds and sedges and over-winter as a larvae. 

The moths are quite large, the males are about 3cm long and the females are a bit bigger.
 
 Poplar Grey Subacronicta megacephala

Although well camoflaged against a tree trunk a close look gives the impression of a face. Two "eyes" in the middle of the wing may act to scare away predators.

The caterpillars feed on Black Poplar, Aspen, White Poplar and other poplars and sometimes on willow. There are both white and black poplars at Wilstone and this moth is regularly recorded. The adult moths fly from late May to early August.
 
 Southern Wainscot  Mythiminea straminea


The larvae of Southern Wainscot feed on Common Reed and Reed Canary Grass, they feed at night and hide in old reed stems or in leaf litter by day. They depend upon the wetland habitat at Tring Reservoirs.
The adults are flying from late June to August.
They look very similar to other Wainscots such as Smoky Wainscot that are also present at Tring Reservoirs but they have more pointed wing tips and when you look very closely they have a faint dark bar across their collar that can be seen head-on.
 
 Round-winged Muslin Thumatha senex

No one would call this a spectacular moth, it is small, only about 1cm long with slightly transparent wings. But it is a specialist of marsh and wetlands. 

The larvae feed on lichens and mosses and probably also on algae low down on the dead stems of marsh plants. The larva are around from late August through to the following June, still feeding over winter on mild days.

They pupate in a cocoon in vegetation near the ground and the adults fly from late June to August.
  

Photos by Lynne Lambert
Information taken from the following publications:
Paul Waring, Martin Townsend, Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland (3rd Ed)  Bloomsbury Wildlife Guides (2003)
Chris Manley British Moths and Butterflies   A&C Black, London (2008)
Colin Plant The Moths of Hertfordshire, Hertfordshire Natural History Society (2008)