Migrant Moths Ireland

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2006 summary
The following (very preliminary) summary article appeared in MothsIreland Newsletter No. 2 (January 2007), which can be downloaded in full at: http://www.mothsireland.com/newsletter.htm
The moth (and butterfly) totals quoted here have been revised (upwards) since records were originally compiled, and a more definitive report on "Migrant and other notable Lepidoptera in 2006" will appear in the Irish Naturalists' Journal.  Meantime, click here for revised 2006 figures (updated 26 March 2009).

Migrant and vagrant moths in 2006


As most of you will realise by now, 2006 was a record-breaking year for immigrant moths in Ireland and possibly in Britain also.  At least five moth species were added to the Irish list this year (subject to formal validation of records).  These were led by two Eastern Bordered Straw Heliothis nubigera in May, then four micro species – Epermenia aequidentellus in July, two Gold Triangle Hypsopygia costalis and an Old World Webworm Hellula undalis in September, and Uresiphita polygonalis in October.  Other notable species this year included three Antigastra catalaunalis in September, Blair’s Mocha Cyclophora puppillaria in September & October, Death’s Head Hawk-moth Acherontia atropos in July, 8 Striped Hawk-Moth Hyles livornica (May to July), a Small Marbled Eublemma parva in June, 7 Ni Moths Trichoplusia ni (mainly August), two Great Brocades Eurois occulta in August and three Red Underwing Catocala nupta in September. 


 A range of other species broke double or treble figures and many occurred in record or near-record numbers (based on available information for previous years).  Good totals included minima to date of 880 Diamond-back Moths Plutella xylostella (a mini-invasion from early May), 2200 Rush Veneer Nomophila noctuella, 16 Palpita vitrealis, 67 Vestal Rhodometra sacraria (mainly September & October), 22 Gem Orthonama obstipapa (peak in October), 29 Convolvulus Hawk-moth Agrius convolvuli (peak September), 290 Hummingbird Hawk-moth Macroglossum stellatarum (mainly June to October), 330 Pearly Underwing Peridroma saucia, 200 Delicate Mythimna vitellina, 17 Cosmopolitan Mythimna loreyi (last three peaking in October), 76 Small Mottled Willow Spodoptera exigua (peak August), 94 Scarce Bordered Straw Helicoverpa armigera (peak September), 59 Bordered Straw Heliothis peltigera (peak June), and 6700 Silver Y Autographa gamma (peak September).


Migrant butterflies also had an excellent year, with >1000 Painted Lady Vanessa atalanta & Red Admiral Vanessa cardui and >800 Clouded Yellow Colias croceus ‘accounted for’ to date by the various websites and individual recorders.


Totals for some of these may increase substantially once further records are compiled.  Fuller details will appear in due course, both in write-ups by individual recorders and in the “Report on migrant and other notable Lepidoptera in 2006” which is due to appear in the Irish Naturalists’ Journal in 2007.  Arrangements for the latter are being finalised at the moment, but we hope it will be a comprehensive (though concise) summary of immigrant moth and butterfly species for the island of Ireland, with some coverage also of other rare species.  There’s been no all-Ireland report for about 15 years now, but 2006 is a good year to start with!


Meantime, we would like to encourage anyone with 2006 records of migrant moth and butterfly species (everything from Silver Y and Red Admiral upwards) to send details to the relevant recorders listed elsewhere in this Newsletter.  Preferably, submit along with records of resident species also, and we’ll extract details of the relevant migrant and other notable species.


For 2007, we hope to provide a regularly updated web-page of migrant moth sightings, from anywhere in Ireland, and would encourage you to email details, in any format and as frequently as you can, to migrant reports, or post them to the MothsIreland newsgroup.  Any records for Northern Ireland will also be copied to the Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland website: http://www.bcni.org.uk/, or if you send records directly there, they’ll also be extracted for the MothsIreland migrant webpage.  For migrant (and other) butterflies in the Republic of Ireland, please continue to send records to the Butterfly Ireland website: http://www.butterflyireland.com/.


Don’t forget too to submit photographs (if available) of any scarcer species, and especially of real rarities to keep the Validation Committee happy…

The Irish Moth & Butterfly Group.