Map Winged Swift Moth - Western Isles - Hebrides Insects

Map Winged Swift oth - Western Isles

Map Winged Swift Moth - Western Isles
Hepialus fusconebulosa

The Map Winged Swift Moth - less common than the common swift moth has a wing span of between 30 and 35mm, the larvae live underground and feed on roots of bracken.

This moth is found in The Western Isles - Scotland and The UK.

This moth is really quite stunning with its striking markings, the picture opposite is of one that I spotted on the moorland at Balallan, behind our house. The map winged swift moth is seen as a moorland species, although it can also be seen in other habitats, including the machair on the Western Isles.

Unlike many other swifts it is frequently seen during light hours



Name of the Map winged Swift Moth
it's name is derived From the map like markings The hepialus fusconebulosa or Map-winged Swift moth gets its common name from the the "map like" markings in a variegated pattern on the forewing in many shades of black, brown and white. Unlike most moths of this family, both the males and the females patterns look similar except that generally the female is rather bigger with a wingspan of up to 50mm

Family of Hepialidae This moth has distinctive map-like markings and chequered fringes and is unlike any other swifts found in the UK. THe map winged swift moth belongs to the family of Hepialidae which are considered to be quite primitive moths .Because of their sometimes large size and striking colour patterns, they have received more popular and taxonomic attention than most "micros"

Two Year Life Cycle
This moth has a two year life cycle and overwinters twice in the larval stage before emerging as an adult moth.

Food - Bracken or Machair Roots
This moth can vary in size, it feeds mostly on on bracken roots, also on the roots on the machair. You can see it in flight May through to July

Moths Closely Related to Butterflies
Moths are closely related to butterflies - people are often under the illusion that throughout the Scotland and the Uk that there are more butterflies than moths - however there are actually about 60 species of butterfly to be seen throughout the UK as opposed to 2500 species of moths. Moths can be seen all the year round including the winter months

Life Cycle - Egg - Pupa - Adult
The life cycle of a moth consists of an egg, caterpillar, pupa, and then the adult moth. Some species of moths live as adults for only a few days, while others live for many months and hibernate over the winter. Some live as caterpillars for 3 to 4 years.

Animal Food Source - Pollination
Moths are a vital food source for many other animals - many birds eat moths - and some species of moths are important pollinators.

Moths Vision

Moths see very differently from us. they can see ultraviolet rays (which are invisible to humans).

Moths Hearing
Butterflies and moths hear sounds through their wings.

Study of Moths
The study of moths is called - 'lepidoptery'

Johnstons Organ
Butterflies and moths both have an organ - the Johnston's organ which is at the base of their antennae. This organ is responsible for maintaining the butterfly or moths sense of balance and orientation, especially during flight.

Click pictures below for larger photographs
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