Over the past few days (end of May into early June 2016), 100’s of thousands, possibly millions, of the tiny moth, Plutella xylostella, have arrived in Britain. They have been trapped and observed in unprecedented numbers, right across the country and it must be one of the biggest influxes ever. The Diamond-back Moth, to give it it’s English name, is a migrant and is usually recorded annually in reasonable numbers. I believe it does breed, especially when it arrives in early summer and it can then be very abundant. This invasion however is unusual and consensus of opinion is that the influx has possibly arrived from Northern Europe, rather than from Africa. The winds for the last week or so have been from the north east, rather than from the south or the south east, when one would expect these insects to begin to arrive on warm weather systems.
They are only 14mm in size and extremely tricky to photograph, as they simply will not sit still. I drove myself crazy trying to get these record shots. This particular individual is unusual in it’s colour form, being a pale and sandy brown colour. Not showing the normal white diamond shaped markings on the back, contrasting with darker black and brown marks down the sides of the folded wing, which together give the moth it’s name.
Diamond-back Moth – Plusella xylostella – Melbourne, Derbyshire – Tony Davison©