Submitted by AJ Cann on Mon, 16/07/2018 - 07:57
    Silver Y

    Numerous Silver Y moths, Autographa gamma, are in our gardens and in the house in the evenings if the windows are open. Why does it seem like they're suddenly everywhere? More...

    The Silver Y is one of our native moths. You may have seen them flying around during the day or disturbed them from vegetation. The larvae feed on a wide range of low plants such as Nettles and the adults can be found from spring through till late autumn. But in addition to our home grown specimens, Silver Y's are famous mass migrants. You may remember them getting up Ronaldo's nose during the Euro 2016 final in Paris. (Am I allowed to mention football at the moment?) Untold numbers have landed on the east cost in the last month. This doesn't happen every year but is not particularly unusual. During peak years an estimated 225–240 million adult moths can arrive from the Mediterranean region, where the larvae developed throughout the previous winter. They are then obliged to migrate because the environment in these southerly regions becomes unsuitable during the long, hot summers. The amazing Silver Y can travel the enormous distances of 2,000 km or more between their winter and summer breeding sites, covering theis distance in just three to four nights, travelling for eight hours or so a night at ground speeds of between 30–100 km per hour. If the wind is in the wrong direction, they wait for it to change. 

    Once they're here, many will breed, but in the autumn, most will head south again back to the Mediterranean. Enjoy them, they'll soon be gone.