Insect experts gather by seaside

Insect enthusiasts returned to Eyemouth Hippodrome to analyse what they found in the field.
Insect enthusiasts returned to Eyemouth Hippodrome to analyse what they found in the field.

Insect experts and enthusiasts from across Scotland gathered in Eyemouth at the weekend to explore the Berwickshire coast.

Eyemouth was hosting the annual Scottish entomologists’ gathering, organised by Barry Prater of Butterfly Conservation, and enthusiasts aged from 14 to 74 based themselves at Eyemouth Hippodrome.

A white pinion spotted moth was discovered in the Borders for the first time during the Entomology weekend based at Eyemouth.

A white pinion spotted moth was discovered in the Borders for the first time during the Entomology weekend based at Eyemouth.

They headed out to Coldingham and Pease Dean in the hope of finding some unusual species, and they weren’t disappointed.

“The full story of what was discovered will only become clear in a few weeks as there are many sightings to be collected together, and it could well be much later in some cases as caterpillars have been taken away to find out just what insect will develop from them,” said Barry.

“However, it’s already known that several new species were recorded for Berwickshire, and one moth, the curiously-named white-pinion spotted at Pease Dean, was the first to be found in the Borders.”

“On Friday night, Coldingham Bay was lit up with light traps by moth enthusiasts, and on Saturday it was the turn of the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s reserve in Pease Dean.

An elephant hawk moth.

An elephant hawk moth.

“Some people laid little traps to catch spiders or beetles, while others walked stream and lochside searching for caddisflies or grasslands for hoverflies and wasps, and there were daytime walks to see butterflies and to look for caterpillars and other signs of insect life.

“Much of the focus was, as expected, along the coastal strip, mostly because of its growing reputation as holding some beautiful insect species which are either rare, threatened or both.

“For many of the visitors, this was their first opportunity to see the area and to experience our rugged cliffs and sea braes, which hold much unspoilt and near pristine habitats.

“The outside tramping, searching and luring was interspersed with indoor discussions, examination of specimens and revelations of findings at the Hippodrome, which proved to be a perfect venue for the whole weekend in terms of location, and special thanks go to Ian and Paula Tod at the Hippodrome.”

To find more about butterfly conservation, go to eastscotland-butterflies.org.uk/index.html