PORINGLAND LAKES

The Green Heart of Poringland

BUTTERFLIES AND MOTHS

These insects belong to the order known as Lepidoptera. 

There are about 60 species of butterfly to be found in Britain and Norfolk is lucky enough to host some of the most spectacular species, including the iconic Swallowtail. 

To date, about ten species have been recorded at the Lakes but this list could greatly increase in the coming months. Some species, including Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell, are known to hibernate and some of these could be using the site in which to survive the winter. Other species will be found at different times of the year.

Moths, of which there are over 2400 species in Britain, can be found most months of the year. They are usually nocturnal and so are not as readily visible as butterflies, although some can be just as attractive. With a healthy population of Ragwort growing in the lake’s grassland areas, the caterpillars of one of our most colourful species, the Cinnabar, can be easily found in abundance in some years. 

It is hoped a ‘moth-trapping’ event could be organised in the coming months where visitors could easily see some of the moth species which reside and visit the lakes. 

There are some photographs of these insects to be found in the relevant album on the Poringland Lake’s Facebook page.

Photographs courtesy of Peter Aspinall and Nick Elsey

Small Copper a Regular Visitor

Despite suffering its worst ever year last summer according to the annual scientific survey of Britain’s butterflies, a tiny but unmistakably dazzling butterfly, the small copper, is seen regularly at Poringland Lakes.  


Small copper numbers fell by almost a quarter on 2014 according to the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme.  The bright ginger butterfly joins a growing band of once-common butterflies in apparent decline in recent years, with conservationists  warning that climate change is having a greater than expected negative impact.  

“A lot of these common species are decreasing with no obvious habitat change,” said a spokesman from Butterfly Conservation. “We’re realising that climate is a bigger negative effect than we previously thought and we really do need to get to the bottom of how weather and climate is affecting them.

Longhorn Moth Sighted 

Lakes’ conservationist Peter Aspinall has taken this remarkable picture of a male longhorn moth resting on the gorse.

Even though they are quite small, the moths are very striking, mainly because of their extremely long 'horns' and beautiful metallic colours.   

Part of the Adelidae family, the wingspan varies from 14 to 18 millimetre. The males have very long antennas and have rough black hair on their heads. The females have relatively short antennas with shorter and lighter hair on their heads. The flight time ranges from April to June.  The caterpillars live on leaf remains.