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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!

19 November, 2016

Agrotis clavis: the heart and club moth

Where do nocturnal moths go in the day time? Usually into hedgerows and bushes to sleep safely until the light fades and they can become active again. We rarely see them during the day unless we accidentally disturb them at rest and the reason we rarely see them I think is exemplified by this photograph of the heart and club moth (Agrotis clavis). Its dull colour and dark markings enable it to become almost invisible and to dissolve its surroundings.
It is interesting that nature has given this moth distinct markings and that those markings form shaped that we recognise from other situations and we then apply the names from elsewhere to what we see on the moth. Here on the moths wing are quite clearly two symbols from a pack of human playing cards, a heart and a club so, hence, the heart and club moth. On the moth these are neither hearts or clubs, just dark camouflage patches to break up the wind shape.
This is quite a widespread and common species in southern Britain. Preferring dry, grassy habitats it is quite varied in its tastes and visits a wide range of herbaceous flowers. It can be seen on the wing in June and July and the resulting larvae hibernate over winter before pupating and emerging as adults the following spring.

Agrotis clavis: the heart and club moth