New moths (to me anyway)

Boydtd at Boydtd at
Sun Jul 18 06:16:39 EDT 1999

The Death's-head Hawk-moth is indeed a migrant which lays its eggs on
potatoes here.  What did they do before Sir Walter Raleigh (or whoever)
brought potatoes and tomatos etc from the New World?  Trouble is, as has been
pointed out, the summers are not really warm enough to incubate the pupae,
and it is generally too damp, so few individuals ever  make it to maturity.
There is another interesting suggestion: we used to dig potatoes by hand, now
they are harvested by machines, and few pupae could survive the milling that
the machines do.  That really makes this moth very rare in the British Isles,
more so than formerly.
Trevor Boyd (Butterfly Conservation, Northern Ireland)

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