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Hi Cathal,I take it you are doing night safaris for nocturnal larvae ?
How easy/productive is it,eg,particular plants or habitats worth checking ?.
Also how far into Autumn do you usually continue ?....george
its a funny business, some nights are much better than others and I'd say temperature/wind chill has a good bit to do with it. Last year I looked until the end of October and the main reason I quit was it was getting too unproductive and the leaves were down or the ones where I looked anyway. Tonight I found 4 or 5 larvae in about half an hour, that wasnt too bad really. I just put a headlight on and look at the low branches of hazel, ash, elm, oak(surprisingly poor lately), willows, lime, holly, blackthorn. Whatever is there- I cant find anything on sycamore, horse chestnut or sweet chestnut. I recommend you try it George, its more productive than daylight looking, the larvae show up better in the light of the headlight and as you suggest a lot of them are probably more active by night anyway and therefore on the leaves and feeding as opposed to retreated up the branches out of reach and view. It can be very interesting- youll see stuff whether its lepidoptera or not. September is better than October but its not over yet, well worth a look now.
Many thanks ,you have persuaded me !
I tend to find more moth larvae along hedges of hazel at the side of the road than in the open woods behind, Im not sure why but I tend to think they are slightly more concentrated along the roadside- the results speak for themselves. In the woods larva densities on the lower viewable branches are lower, maybe they are more scattered in general within the woods or many of them are simply too high up to see. The roadside is the most productive for me. By now there will be a lot of evidence of moth larvae feeding in the way of holed and damaged leaves but the critters that did the munching are long gone, even so, look for the eaten leaves and focus your efforts there.
Lat/Lng: 55.0248, -6.0921
OS grid ref: NW385776