Over 100 species of European butterflies and moths recorded at Le Moulin: the perfect place for a butterfly and moth enthusiast to come on holiday
With over 100 species of European butterflies and moths recorded at Le Moulin, it’s the perfect place for a butterfly and moth enthusiast to come on holiday.
When I left my last proper job before moving to France, my colleagues bought me a moth trap as a leaving present. You may have preferred a John Lewis voucher or a carriage clock, but I was overjoyed. You see, I love moths!
How a Moth Trap works
A moth trap works on the same principle as when you leave your bathroom light on by mistake with the window open and you end up with a bathroom full of moths. It’s a bright light on top of a box into which the moths fall.
The idea is not to trap and kill the moths, but rather attract them so that the many different and diverse types of moths can be identified.
The box is normally full of egg boxes which give the moths somewhere to hide and spend a reasonable night before they are identified and released in the morning.
A box full of moths to identify is a surprisingly wonderful thing.
Often thought of as the dowdy nighttime cousins to butterflies, actually some are incredibly beautifully coloured.
Moths: “the butterflies of the night”
The French call them “the butterflies of the night”. Their concern of course, is not to show off or attract a mate, but to pass the dangerous daylight hours camouflaged against vegetation.
Identifying European butterflies and moths
Having them captive makes them much easier to identify too – as anyone who has witnessed the indignity of chasing a butterfly round a meadow trying to see if it’s a heath fritillary or a Glanville fritillary will testify.
We used to run our trap a couple of times during the season for the amusement of guests – even teenagers can sometimes be persuaded to look up from a screen occasionally to admire an impressive looking elephant hawk moth.
Then we started to get people who brought their own traps and our species list grew and grew – it currently stands at just under 100 species.
Some of these traps have incredibly bright lights – I imagine the moths of Limoges turning their heads towards the south with a wistful look in their eyes!
I must admit that I do have a slight problem with this as I am a passionate defender of the dark skies of the PNR. I don’t like light pollution and I don’t want it to affect how we view our night sky in the region. Our stars are something to behold and I wouldn’t want to be spoilt for other visitors to the parc who have yet to experience stargazing here. But, as long as it doesn’t become a nightly occurrence, I think we should be OK.
So this year we have really gone for it and have taken out an advert in the specialist moth journal Atropos*. And I have had a couple of enquiries already – the moth enthusiasts irresistibly drawn towards the light of a holiday where they can pursue their hobby while their family can enjoy the pool, the woodland walks, the river and local markets and restaurants.
Lovers of European butterflies and moths are our perfect customers
There is lots of talk in hospitality circles of identifying your perfect “customer avatar” and persona – i.e. the people you want to try and attract to come and stay with you. People who love and appreciate nature, especially the more esoteric classifications, such as insects and European butterflies and moths in particular, are definitely the perfect customers for us.
*Moth photos in Atropos advert by kind permission of Nigel Peace – Editor of European Butterflies Group newsletter. All taken at Le Moulin de Pensol.