Moths are often considered a nuisance and the culprit of pesky holes in your clothes, however Limerick man Kevin Hannon has spent years discovering rare species of the insect throughout the county and studying these unassuming yet fascinating insects.
For this week’s episode of Ours to Protect, Live 95’s Aislinn Kelly met Kevin in Limerick city to talk about these pollinators and what they mean for our environment.
What’s the difference between a moth and a butterfly?
- While the typical representation of a moth might be duller in colour to a butterfly and more nocturnal than butterflies, that is not always the case.
- Moths, like butterflies, begin their life as caterpillars and make cocoons before emerging as spectacular moths with wings.
- Many moths are incredibly colourful, ranging in spectacular yellows, oranges and even bright neon pink.
- Both moths and butterflies are from the ‘lepidoptera’ family and share many similarities.
- The main difference to help identify between moths and butterflies is butterflies usually have thin antennae shaped like clubs, and moths tend to have feathery antennae.
What do moths do for our environment?
- Moths are incredibly important pollinators as they are around all year around.
- Moth-pollinated flowers tend to be fragrant and white as they allow nocturnal moths to easily find flowers after dark.
- Some moths, like the hummingbird moths, pollinate during the daytime with their long tongues sipping nectar from flowers such as honeysuckle and verbena.
- Moths carry most of the pollen they harvest on their furry bodies, transferring it between flowers in a similar way to bees and hoverflies.
- Moths are considered a vital part of our ecosystem, as their nocturnal pollination is credited with helping our crops grow all year round.
How can I help Ireland’s moths?
- Try to avoid using pesticides, the biggest threat to moths.
- Keep your hedgerows and plots of disused land, allow nettles to grow in areas and keep a patch of grass to grow high.
- Tillage farmers should create wildlife corridors to link moths between hedges and field margins.
- Have a diverse range of plants in your garden.
Moth’s Ireland tells you all about what moths are native to our shores…
If you are inspired by Kevin’s records, start making your own discoveries with the National Biodiversity Data Centre…