Giant moths the size of your HAND set to invade Sheffield from Europe

Giant moth - butterfly-conservation.org (s)
Giant moth - butterfly-conservation.org (s)
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An immigration of rare moths are heading to the UK from Europe with some of them as big as your hand.

Wildlife lovers have been told to be on the lookout for the 'rare and spectacular moths looking for an autumn lifeline'.

The Butterfly Conservation organisation has said that the scarce Silver-striped Hawk-moth and Radford's Flame Shoulder have both arrived into the UK.

These have also been joined by the 'spectacular immigrant species' including the giant Convolvulus Hawk-mith and the Humming-bird Hawk-moth.

The Silver-striped Hawk-moth is most usually seen in Autumn and have a wingspan of 7-8cm - roughly the size of an adult male's hand.

The Convolvulus Hawk-moth is a large brownish-grey moth with a pink and black striped body with a wingspan range of 80-120mm.

Ivy provides a lifeline to moths, butterflies and other pollinators as it flowers late in the year when other nectar sources are unavailable.

utterfly Conservation Head of Recording, Richard Fox said: “A quick check of ivy blossom on a sunny autumn day will reveal bees, hoverflies, butterflies and other insects, all making the most of this seasonal bonanza of nectar.

“After dark, the pollinator nightshift takes place and a myriad of moths come out to feed.

“For this year’s Moth Night, find some big patches of ivy flowers nearby and go back with a torch after the sun has set. It’s a fantastic and easy way to see some of the beautiful moths that are on the wing in autumn.”

Atropos editor Mark Tunmore said: “Ivy is an undervalued natural resource and there is a tendency for it to be regarded as something that needs to be tidied away in the garden.

“However, ivy offers valuable nectar for insects, shelter for bats and nesting birds, as well as a source of berries for small mammals and birds. It is also an attractive plant in its own right.

“We are encouraging people to get out over the coming days and look at what they can see on their local ivy patches. Some of our most attractive autumnal moths may be glimpsed, taking advantage of this rich nectar source.”