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Follow up to Les Cloutman's talk on Somerset's Butterflies & Day Flying Moths

We had a talk by Les Cloutman at our March meeting and Les kindly sent us a few follow up answers to questions raised at the meeting.


  1. Foodplants of the Jersey Tiger Moth:  many herbaceous plant’s including nettle, hemp agrimony and bramble.

  2. Butterfly life span :  Many of the butterflies that emerge in the summer only live about 2 weeks and die when they have finished breeding. But some that over winter as adults will live up to 6 months – but of course much of this time in hibernation.

3. I was asked if there were any invasive butterflies that were a pest . I answered truthfully that I knew of non. But of course, there are several moth species arriving from the continent,   the most infamous are the processionary moth family – several species are pests on oak or pine and have hairs that are irritating to humans.

4. I was shown a picture of a Hawk moth caterpillar : it was probably the Privet Hawkmoths, Sphinx ligustri

5. Volunteering: the chap I mentioned is Fred Giles who helps to organise survey groups for including butterflies across Somerset. He is based at the Avalon Marshes Centre, Westhay.  His group run a series of seminars - no previous experience needed – just enthusiasm !      Email :

5. I mentioned growing cowslips – a good tip is that the seed need a period of cold before they germinate -  put the seed in your freezer  for w eek before sowing,

6. Not always easy to obtain genuine British wildflower seed. One company I could rely on are Chilton Seeds

If there are any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me


Les C

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