Marvellous Moths

You may have noticed mysterious lights and shadowy figures reflected on Littlehempston churchtower at the end of July. More than 20 people enjoyed an excellent moth trapping session, learning more about the surprisingly colourful and beautiful creatures that inhabit the long grass in the Living Churchyard. Did you know that there are 2,500 different species of British moths, of which only 4 eat your jumpers? The evening was led by Terry Underhill, a well-known local wildlife expert, and Rik Fox from the Devon Moth Group, who collect observations and keep the records that are vital to help conserve and protect wildlife. The moths were attracted to bright lights in the traps, identified and then photographed before being set free. Pictured here is young Henry, captivated by an Oak Eggar. Rik said that this was the first survey ever done in Littlehempston. 78 different species were recorded and in a letter listing all the finds, Rik commented “this is an impressive total for just part of a single night in a small churchyard and this is undoubtedly due, in part, to the areas of long grass and wildflowers that have been allowed to flourish”. Highlight of the evening was a splendid Elephant Hawkmoth. Many thanks to Jenny Galton-Fenzi for organising such a fun and informative evening that revealed what hidden treasures inhabit the darkness around the church – one man said he was going on to the pub, but stayed on till midnight, as this was so interesting.