First off I’d like to explain why I chose to study moths over their preferred cousins, the butterflies. You may or may not know that in the UK alone we have some 59 resident butterfly species, but did you know that there are around 2,500 moth species? Not only that, some of them are as spectacular as any butterfly. The Elephant Hawkmoth for example (See image) is pink and green in colour and looks a little like a jump jet aircraft! Some moth species, such as the burnets and hummingbird hawk moths, are day-flying. Where clothes are concerned, only the larvae of a handful of UK species feed on clothing, the rest rely on plants, lichens and in some cases, other larvae.
Aside from the great diversity and beauty of moths as a taxa, they also provide important ‘ecosystem services’ in the form of pollination.
My own research has in part focused on the visitation of such species to hedgerow plants such as Bramble. I found that moth species were the main visitors to hedgerow flowers and night, rather than flies or beetles. See the image for a picture of a Willow Beauty moth feeding from a Bramble flower. The findings of this research pose questions as to the possible financial benefits of moths as pollinators of fruit crops such as Raspberry and Loganberry, whose flowers are similar in shape to those of Bramble.