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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

21 June, 2011

Horse Chestnut Moth (Pachycnemia hippocastanaria)

Whilst walking across heathland I disturbed this moth. It took a while to track it down and photograph it and then, when I got home, the process if identification started. Now there were no Horse Chestnut trees anywhere to be seen when I found this moth so initially I discounted it although the photo match was a good one. Eventually, nearing the point of defeat, I turned to the text on the Horse Chestnut moth fully expecting it to be associated with the tree of the same name; instead I read that it is "occasionally put up from heather during the day but is more frequently found flying at dusk or at light." Not only that but also "Well established and not uncommon on the heaths of Hampshire and Dorset. A very local species."

One has to ask, who names these creatures? How can a heathland species bear the common name Horse Chestnut Moth? It has nothing to do with Horse Chestnut trees and the choice of name for this moth is grossly misleading! Rant over.