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Country diary: even the dowdiest day-flying moths deserve a closer look

Langstone, Hampshire: Garden tigers and hummingbird hawkmoths are spectacular, but there are gems among the smaller species too

There are significantly more species of day-flying moths in the UK than there are butterflies – over twice as many large “macro moths”, plus a number of smaller, harder to identify “micro” species – but they are often overlooked in favour of their more familiar cousins.

It’s impossible to ignore the hummingbird hawkmoth darting back and forward between my buddleia bushes in the company of another summer visitor, a silver Y. As it hovers with an audible hum, supping nectar through its inch-long curved proboscis, I can see why this spectacular migrant is easily mistaken for its namesake. Though unrelated, both creatures have evolved similar traits – a perfect example of convergent evolution.

Related: British moths in calamitous decline, major new study reveals

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