UK moths

Jacques Francis jacques.francis at
Tue Dec 14 10:54:54 EST 1999

Thanks Pierre

I'll look into that, and may even venture out to try to catch one. I'll let
you know.


Pierre Zagatti wrote in message <38560270.90C389DC at>...
>There are moths (and also beetles) that are adults in winter only.
>Your moths are probably winter moths (Operophtera brumata - Geometridae):
>Wendell Roelofs showed that they have an upper temperature threshold:
>they cannot fly and mate above this temperature (I don't remember exactly
>the temperature but I can easily find the reference if you're interested).
>Concerning the European beetles, you may find a similar behaviour
>in Vesperus xatarti (Cerambycidae), although there is no upper temperature
>threshold apparently (paper in press):
>(this link to the english text has fewer photos than on the French page,
>click on the small flag at the bottom of the page :-).
>The moths may increase their thorax temperature by fanning wings for a
>before taking off, so there are no physiological contradictions between
>temperature and muscle activity.
>Some scientists in Canada and Scandinavia studied extensively such
>to cold.
>Jacques Francis wrote:
>> Driving along quiet single-track country roads in wooded Surrey tonight
>> (13-Dec-99), with the car's thermometer showing 0 to -2 and after a day
>> dank grey overcast with long periods of rain (yes, I'd rather be in
>> Barbados), I caught at least 30 moths in the headlights. They all looked
>> about the same in size and colour - buff, and were quickly flapping their
>> wings. As I don't know a great deal about moths, I was surprised to see
>> at all at these low temperatures.
>> Does anybody know if this is normal and I've been rather unobservant in
>> past, or whether it's unusual. What sends moths to bed for the winter,
>> are there some that come out irrespective of the weather?
>> Jacques Francis
>INRA Unite de Phytopharmacie et Mediateurs Chimiques
>78026 Versailles Cedex
>Tel: (33) 1 30 83 31 18
>e-mail zagatti at

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