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Butterflies & Moths


Image credit: Wix

Butterflies and moths have been around for at least 50 million years, they probably first evolved some 150 million years ago and are thought to be sensitive indicators of the health of our environment, like the canary in the coal mine.



80% of butterflies have declined in abundance since 1976. Twenty-eight of the fifty-nine regularly breeding butterflies in the UK are confirmed as being present in Bexley. It is unclear, how many of these will be specifically found on Foots Cray Meadows, but according to council records the following have been seen: brimstone, comma, common blue, Essex skipper, gatekeeper, holly blue, large white, meadow brown, orange tip, painted lady, peacock, red admiral, small copper, small skipper, small tortoiseshell, small white and speckled wood. 


If you're interested in how to identify butterflies, visit Butterfly Convservation's website.



There are over 2,500 species of Moth in the UK, living in a wide variety of habitats.


Moths are often misunderstood, but hey hold vital roles in the wildlife ecosystem. In 2014 it was found that two-thirds of common and widespread larger species (macro-moths) declined in the last 40 years. The losses in abundance were much greater in the southern half of Britain than the north.


Moths and their caterpillars are especially important for food items for many other species, including other insects, spiders, frogs, toads, hedgehogs, bats and many bird species.


According to Council records the following moths have been  identified on the Meadows: angle shades, brimstone, bright-line brown-eye, broad-bordered yellow underwing, brown tail, buff arches, cinnabar, plain clay, cloaked minor, common footman, copper underwing, dark arches, dark spinach, dot, double square-spot, dun-bar, dwarf cream wave, eyed hawk, fern, flame, flame shoulder, garden carpet, garden tiger, grass (various), green pug, grey dagger, heart and club, iron prominent, July highflyer, large emerald, large yellow underwing, least carpet, lesser yellow underwing, light arches, lime hawk, magpie, maiden’s blush, marbled beauty, mottled beauty, mottled rustic, nut-tree tussock, oak hook-tip, old lady, orange swift, pale prominent, peppered (melanic and normal), phoenix, poplar grey, poplar hawk, purple thorn, puss moth, red underwing, riband wave, ruby tiger, scalloped oak, scarce footman, scorched carpet, shaded broad-bar, shuttle-shaped-bar, silver Y,  single-dotted wave, slender brindle, small fan-footed wave, smoky wainscot, square-spot rustic, swallow-tailed, treble-bar, turnip, vine’s rustic, willow beauty, yellow shell and yellow tail.


If you're interested in how to identify butterflies, visit Butterfly Convservation's website.

Moths Vs Butterflies

Activity Period
Thin body
Thick body
Fold their wings vertically up over their backs
Hold their wings in a tent-like fashion, hiding their abdomen
Club-shaped with a long shaft and a bulb at the end
Feathery or saw-edged
Mostly have more colourful patterns on their wings
Generally drab-coloured wings
Typically larger than moths
Typically smaller than butterflies

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