An Irruption of White Satin Moths at Ainsdale


983 b Adult Moth

On Monday 6th June I visited Ainsdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve to witness a spectacular event. An Irruption of White Satin Moths. This moth Leucoma salicis has a wingspan of 37 – 50 mm and the wings have a beautiful white satiny sheen.

The moth is quite rare in the UK and also very localised. The thousands of moths are all concentrated in an area of about 200 metres by 150 metres

5727 Caterpillar

On 24th May I found the caterpillars devouring the leaves of the Scrub Willow bushes in the dune slacks south of the Discovery Centre. The young caterpillars over-winter on these bushes and somehow survive when the slacks are flooded. They resume feeding when the new leaves appear and when I visited some had started to pupate.

Caterpillar of White Satin Moth

The caterpillars spin a loose cocoon between leaves and the pupa are glossy black.

5691 Pupa

I now had to be patient and wait…

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