Saturday, 29 August 2015

Day 290 - Superly Perfect and Magnificent Swallow Prominent Moth

Lesser Swallow Prominence (Pheosia gnoma)
Hey everyone today's Day 290 and as you know, I was recently at the Nosterfield LNR reserve working as a volunteer. I was put on the morning job of helping with Moth trapping which was quite popular and had quite a good crowd. I loved seeing the amount of Moths and the variety. From the first-for-Nosterfield Feathered Gothic to all of the 284 Yellow Under-Wings. Another of my favourites that I saw was the lovely Swallow Prominent.

View from above of the Lesser.
This post will be about the two similar species, the Lesser Swallow Prominent as well as the Swallow Prominent.

So, here are the facts:

  • The Lesser Swallow Prominent is actually more common in England, Scotland and Wales but it is less so in Ireland.
  • The Swallow Prominent can range from 40mm - 55mm while the Lesser Swallow Prominent is (of course) Lesser and ranges from 45mm - 50mm.
Swallow Prominence (Pheosia tremula)
  • The Lesser Larvae feed, very specifically, on birch. They then overwinter underground in their cocoon.
  • The Swallow Prominent larvae eat Poplar and Willow and also overwinter underground, the same as the Lesser.
  • They both eat, as Adults, Nectar from most plants.
  • They are found in Woodlands, Meadows (where they will find most of their food from), Heathlands, Parks and Gardens.
Hairy head close up
  • They were first recorded in 1854 although they will have been around way before that time.
Wings spread
  • The way to tell the difference between the two of them is by looking at the white wedge toward the top of their wings. In the Lesser Swallow Prominent it is a chunkier, shorter wedge.
  • Both species may well have two broods. They are generally on the wing between May and June and then also again in August.
Here are some links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. Always enjoying your blog posts, Zach. The details you provide are quite interesting, and the moth displays intrigue me as it seems average folks don't pay much attention to their place in the ecosystem. And they are beautiful, unique, and delicate, as your exceptional photography shows us!

  2. Stunning shots Zach, these are so good. Looks like you had a good time volunteering, I really need to do something like that at some point! - Tasha