Striped Hawkmoth influx hits southern Britain


An significant influx of Striped Hawkmoths into southern Britain in recent days has livened up the spring for moth enthusiasts nationwide.

The initial arrival took place overnight on 15-16 May, with several individuals discovered in moth traps in south-west England and Pembrokeshire, Wales, on 16th, encouraged by a southerly airflow extending from southern Europe and North Africa.

Large numbers of Striped Hawkmoths have arrived in Britain in recent days, with the most typically being seen in south-west England (Paul Cools).

More Striped Hawkmoths were reported over subsequent days, most of which were in the South-West but with an increasing number of reports from further north and east. By 19th, there were multiple records from Kent and East Sussex, with another trapped at Kilnsea, East Yorkshire. A significant inland record from Oakham, Rutland, on 18th gave hope to moth trappers across interior counties that the current influx might provide a golden opportunity to add this species to their lists.

Striped Hawkmoth is a scarce but annual immigrant to Britain, with the number and timing of arrivals varying each year. In some years, such as this, notable influxes will arrive early in the season, although Striped Hawkmoths can occur as late as October. Most records of this species in Britain involve adult moths attracted to light, but caterpillars can also be found following early arrivals in good years. The previous major influx was in 2006, when at least 384 Striped Hawkmoths were recorded; prior to that, 540+ were logged in 1943.