The warmer the night, the more moths you tend to catch; so it was not surprising that the hottest night ever recorded in the UK brought me a record haul. I had 91 species in and around the trap, a total of 488 moths  -  plus many hundreds of Horse Chestnut Leaf-miners and Apple Leaf-miners, which I didn’t attempt to count.

Even with 91 species in the trap there was only one new for the garden. After six years running a moth trap, I get new species less often; even so, I’ve had 21 new species in the garden in the last 12 months, bringing the total to 623.

My best new species so far this year, though, was not in the trap. I’ve always loved examples of animal mimicry: fish that look like floating vegetation, or praying mantis that look like orchids. There are lots of UK moths that look like dead leaves, wood or lichen. A surprising number of them look like bird droppings. There are some caterpillars that look extraordinarily like twigs. Maybe the most remarkable, though, is the Hornet Moth, a day-flying species which looks amazingly like a large wasp, but is actually a big fluffy moth that’s trying to scare away predators.

The caterpillars live inside the trunks of mature poplar trees for two or three years, and you can often find the large emergence holes at the base of the trunk. There are lots of these holes on some large hybrid poplars at the southern edge of Dulwich Park. And if you check the trunks in the mornings in late June or early July, you may find the empty cocoons or, if you are lucky, the adult moth. Which is how I found one this year.