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I couldn’t resist this one as it is a very beautiful moth with iridescent deep blue scales and a superb ginger head. The Carrion Moth is not a particularly common moth but a very widespread one occurring in almost every Vice-county in Scotland. Here in D&G we have 20 records of adults from all three Vice-counties from the 8th May to the 28th August. Most records are from moth traps but a number have been from spotting the moth during the day.

However, what makes this moth exceptional is, as its common name suggests, its life history. This is a species which feeds as a caterpillar on the dead, dried bodies of mammals and birds as well as the similarly composed carnivore faeces. Not a lot is known about this species life cycle but as a member of the family Tineidae it is far from the only micro moth which feeds on animal matter rather than vegetation. Other closely related species include the Skin Moth and several species of clothes moth. These moths feed on all kinds of animal matter including feathers, skin and fur as well as such material in owl pellets, birds’ nests and faeces. Obviously the clothes moths take advantage of wool and fur made into clothes or furniture stuffing etc.

Moths like these can be caught in moth traps or found flying by day but another approach is to collect empty birds’ nests or owl pellets and keep them to see what emerges. There will be flies and beetles but also some very pretty micros?

MOTW – Carrion Moth Monopis Weaverella
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