Although the majority of our moths are nocturnal, there are also several species of day-flying moths in Britain.

Most are relatively small but there is one, namely the emperor moth that is large, handsome and sports beautiful colours and large eye spots on the wings which resemble an owl's face, designed to deter predators.

The emperor moth is indeed one of our largest insects and the only British species related to the silk moth family but its silk is of no commercial value.

Emperors are on the wing during April and May, their habitats being heathland and extensive grassy places.

The female emits an extremely powerful scent, or pheromone, flies little and instead, perches on heather waiting for a male to find her.

The searching males can be seen flying fast and low in a zig-zagging fashion and are sometimes mistaken for butterflies.

Using their long feathery antennae (pictured) which resemble radio aerials, males can amazingly detect a female from over a mile away.

So, a male flying say in Richmond park may well pick up the scent of a 'calling' female sitting in Bushy park!

It seems incredible that pheromones alone wafting into the air can attract a mate from such a long distance so I wonder if there is also some other unknown factor involved which the males can detect and assist them to follow the trail and home in on her?

An intriguing question.