Monday, 14 March 2016

Bit off more than it could chew...

There were zero moths in the garden actinic trap here at Westcott last night.  However, during a glance outside from indoors at about 8pm I could see something fairly large, I thought possibly a beetle, zooming around the trap so went out with the net.  Of course, actinics don't put out much visible light so this really was a stab in the dark (and people I've been trapping with will concur that my netting skills are in any case sadly lacking!).  Just for once, though, I did catch something only it wasn't quite what I expected. 

Brown Long-eared Bat, Westcott 13th March

Unknown to me this bat had obviously been chasing the beetle too and ended up in the net instead!  It must have caught up with its prey a second or two beforehand because a subsequent torchlight search of the grass around the trap produced the headless body of a Great Diving Beetle Dytiscus marginalis, possibly too large and crunchy a meal even for a Brown Long-eared.

Deceased Dytiscus marginalis, Westcott 13th March

Running the light trap means that I get regular visits from bats but they're just as entitled to be there and I doubt that they really make all that much difference to the numbers of moths caught.  All bat species in the UK are protected so it would be illegal to interfere with them anyway, even if one wanted to.  After his photo had been taken this one was quickly released and flew off, seemingly unfazed by the experience!

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks           

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Dave for posting the picture of the long-eared bat - quite a catch! We only seem to get a few pipistrelles in our garden, and certainly not enough to affect moth numbers.


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