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About Me

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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!

22 January, 2016

Orange Underwing: breaking the myths

Some moths break all the assumptions we make about them. Moths fly by night? No, not true. Several species fly by day and the orange underwing (Archiearis parthenias) is one you can find on bright sunny days. Again, moths are summer insects? No, not true either. There are moths that can be found in the middle of winter as they have a form of anti-freeze in their blood and the orange underwing is found in March and April even before spring really gets underway. Moths are drab coloured insects? Totally untrue. Many species disprove this but when the fairly dull coloured top wings of the orange underwing part slightly they reveal the most glorious golden orange on the underwings; its is called the orange underwing after all!  
Despite flying by day and being widespread and locally common in Britain the orange underwing is actually rarely seen as it generally flies around the tops of trees but occasionally they can be seen at ground level as it friskily flies. I was lucky to find this one at rest on the ground so was able to photograph it. They favour birch but also visit sallow blossom and late Marchand early April is certainly the time for that.

Orange Underwing: breaking the myths