Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Emperor Anticlimax


After recent brilliant reports of multiple Emperor Moth sightings I planned to go to Whiteholm Drain to see some for myself. Preparing to set off about 2pm the clouds thickened but I thought this was just a passing band of cloud. I arrived at the parking spot and had lost my shadow but it was still reasonable. Saw my first Swallow of the year on the reservoir but by now things were looking grim. Started to rain and wind got up too. In my sodden fleece, desparingly I trudged back.

I will return however!

It is now 6pm, glorious sunshine !
Winston

5 comments:

charlie streets said...

Try, try and try again - you'll see one eventually, although it sounds as if you'll have to take a net with you if you want a good view of one!

Paul Talbot..aka Moffman said...

Winston...the best way to get good close views of Emperors is to assemble the males to a female kept in a container with a mesh top. Males will flock in from some distance to try and mate with the female. I know its not much use this year, but if you pupa hunt over winter this year you can try next year. The pupa are usually in the base of heather clumps and not too hard to find once you get your eye in. If you take 6 or so pupa you are almost certain to get a couple of females to assemble with. The males are so keen to try and get at the female that you can pick them up and handle them without them flying away.

This technique of "assembling" in very useful with many species using a virgin female or pheremone as bait. I have a design for an asembling trap made out of three empty 1.5 litre plastic water bottles somewhere. Ian Smith designed this and I am sure I have the plans he sent me somewhere and I will try and find them and upload them to the blog

Winston said...

Thanks guys.

Field trip number 3 was located to try and obtain a famale for assembling but no luck.

I may try today, weather good so far and I have an enormous net.

Winston

Paul Talbot..aka Moffman said...

Winston....Females seen flying will already have mated and thus be not much use for assembling. The males you see flying pounce on females before that have left the pupal case and before they dry their wings to fly. Virgin females will extrude part of the abdomen and emit pheremones to attract males where it is safe to mate away from predators. Males are the ones seen flying during daylight, the females fly at night in the main unless disturbed

Winston said...

Hi Paul

Vital info to understand how the life cycle of this amazing species works.

Winston