Invertebrates of the Mosses
Lowland raised bogs are unsprayed mild landscapes of humid rotting vegetation, ideal for myriads of invertebrates, which form the base for a diverse food chain. Moths, butterflies, leaf beetles, and many other insects both in and out of water, feed on bog plants, and mites, springtails and larvae on rotting plant remains.
Flies, beetles, spiders and dragonflies hunt for these, and in turn provide food for voles, shrews, frogs and toads, which themselves are eaten by adders and birds of prey. Waders, probing damp peat for invertebrates, in turn provide a feast for birds of prey and foxes and man.
Fennís and Whixall Mosses are famous for their 1800 species of invertebrates, especially moths, flies, beetles, 27 species of butterflies and 27 species of dragonflies, darters and damselflies. They host 280 species of national importance. All spring and summer long, the air drones as one species after another emerges, and when dusk falls, ghostly-pale fluttering moths take wing.
In late June, look for the specially spotty davus sub-species of Britainís most southerly colony of large heath butterfly, manically flitting from egg-laying on hareís-tail cotton sedge to sipping nectar from cross-leaved heath.
Pretty little purple-bordered gold, northern footman, dingy mocha and Manchester treble-bar star among the 535 species of moths. The white-faced darter lays its eggs in bogmoss, where big stripy raft spiders stalk. Uncountable four-spot chasers in spring and black darters in summer make the Mosses one of Britainís best dragonfly sites. Listen for the singing of rare bog bush crickets and glimpse the golden flash of Britainís rarest caddis fly Hagenella clathrata.