93 days to go to National Insect Week
Saturday, June 25, 2016 - 10:00 to 12:00
Witness the summer varieties of these fascinating creatures within the stunning surroundings of Woodberry Wetlands.
With over 30 butterfly and 800 moth species living in London and 23 recorded at the reserve, there is a huge range of Lepidoptera to discover. From the charismatic and colourful to the smaller and more inconspicuous, these wonderful insects are enormously important to our biodiversity and are good gauge of the environment.
The walk will meet for an introduction to the main species found in the area and an overview of their natural history, habitat, lifecycle, feeding and breeding patterns by the tour leader before heading out to the reservoir to observe and discuss the range of butterflies and day-flying moths active throughout the reserve. You will additionally be able to examine the evening moths which will have been caught the night before in the range of special light traps before setting them free.
The reserve proffers the opportunity to observe such distinctive moths as the sizeable black & white spotted Leopard Moth and Large Yellow Underwing with a wingspan of 5 – 6 centimeters and the more petite Small Magpie and literally clear-winged Red-Tipped Clearwing to the more common members of the Tortricidae family, Tortrix, Clover Seed and Holly Tortrix moths, and the micro moths of the Eriocraniidae, Gracillariidae, Momphidae and Oecophoridae families.
The butterflies that you will most likely spot are the orange and brown winged Large and Essex Skippers representing the Hesperiidae family and Lycaenidaes Holly Blue, identified by their bright blue upperwings and pale blue spotted undersides, the very handsome Purple Hairstreak and Common Blue. The Peacock with its red wings and brilliant eyespots and striking orange & black patterned Small Tortoiseshell are amongst the most spectacularly coloured and easily spotted of the Nymphalidae family whilst the Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral are also present.
Female water snipe flies Atherix ibis clasp each other and cluster in big round aggregations on the end of branches overhanging rivers – males entering the swarms are mated repeatedly until they die. The females then lay their eggs in to the water – and all die still in their tight aggregations.