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Swarms of ‘Ronaldo’ moths could be set to invade UK within the next 24 hours

The Silver Y moth
The winged insects which plagued the Portugal v France Euro 2016 final are set to breach our shores according to experts
Cristiano Ronaldo

The moment a Silver Y moth landed on Cristiano Ronaldo’s face in the Euro 2016 finals

Swarms of moths like the one which tormented footballer Cristiano Ronaldo during the Euro 2016 final are headed for UK shores.

The insects were the stars of the Portugal v France final on Sunday when an infestation hit the Stade de France.

But now experts say more creatures like the Silver Y moth – which became a viral sensation when it landed on the downed football ace’s tear-stained face – are heading our way.

The moths annually migrate to Northern Europe from Africa and southern Spain and can be seen as far north as the top of Scotland.

And according to Richard Fox, Head of Butterfly and Moth Recording at Butterfly Conservation , they might be on their way already.

“It doesn’t take them very long [to travel], if they’ve got a decent tailwind they can cover a lot of distance within 24 hours if the wind was blowing in the right direction,” he told the Independent .

Silver Y moth
 have a nifty flight pattern which means they catch tailwinds and travel quickly

The Silver Ys, so called because of a silvery shape on their wings, made themselves comfortable in the Paris stadium ahead of Sunday night’s game because the lights were left on overnight, according to staff.

“If there was a big migration of moths coming by on Saturday night then they could have well been attracted in by the lights, and then been sitting around on the pitch during the day,” Mr Fox explains.

But now the migration of the insects, who have a lifespan of between three and four weeks, will continue across the English Channel.

“Even though they’re tiny little things with minute brains, the size of a pinhead, they are very sophisticated at flying,” Mr Fox adds.

He does say that the ‘invasion’ of the stadium was unusual as it was such a small space, and over here they would be spread out.

But even when they die, their threat isn’t gone, as they only do so after they lay eggs which will become caterpillars in seven weeks before entering their cocoons and becoming fully grown moths.


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About the author

Sydney Chesterfield

Poet, Playwright, Philosopher, Humanitarian, mad lover of children and unflinching fighter for equality on all grounds viz. Women's rights, child rights, sine die.

Twitter: @syd_field