"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Night of the Underwings

Saturday, 30th July, was the night of the Warwickshire Moth Blitz. As there is no National Moth Night this year the Warwickshire Branch of Butterfly Conservation are inviting people to submit records of moths seen or trapped in Warwickshire on the 30July. This will help to gauge the state of Warwickshire moths.

It was definitely the Night of the Underwings as, although they weren't recorded in any great numbers, there were 5 different species - Large Yellow Underwing, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Straw Underwing and Copper Underwing. The last 3 species were all new for this year.

There were four possible new species of micro for the garden (if my id's are correct!).

Copper Underwing - a pity I can't get a photo showing the hindwing which is a beautiful orangey/red/amber colour.

Straw Underwing (hindwings in this species are a straw colour with a dark border)

Flame Shoulder - lovely markings on this pretty moth

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing - I think this one is a newly emerged moth as according to the Waring and Townsend "bible" the collar on emergence is a light green. The hindwings in this species are yellow with a black border

Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (hindwings golden-yellow again with a broader black border)

The one species I would really love to see in the garden is the Red Underwing but no luck so far.

Back to the dreaded Uncertain/Rustic conundrum. I think the species in the photo below is Common Rustic but I stand to be corrected! Although I think Common Rustic, Lesser Common Rustic and Remm's Rustic can only reliably be identified by killing the moths (ugh!) and dissection of the genitalia. No wish to go down that route!

Now for the micros.

As usual loads escaped but I did manage to pot 6 individuals of a micro I think is Agriphila inquinatella - couldn't manage to get a pic as they were far too lively even straight from the fridge.

I think the moth below is Pyrausta purpularis. Very similar to Pyrausta aurata but, according to the brilliantly useful Hants Flying Tonight website, the one reliable way of distinguishing between the species is to check the hindwing which is unmarked in aurata but in purpularis there are one or two yellow spots or broad streaks on the basal half which this moth had. In fact its hindwing is identical to the photo on the website - no photo of hindwing as it wouldn't keep still for long enough

This micro appears to be Tachystola acroxantha accidentally imported from Australia on plants in the twentieth century and since then it has spread rapidly
Another new species for the garden

Finally, this moth looks like Acleris laterana (new for garden) although yet again it is similar to Acleris Comariana and genitalia dissection is again need to distinguish between the 2.

Summary of Moths Trapped Saturday, 30th July

9.30 p.m. until dawn
Minimum Temperature 12.6 degrees centigrade

15w Actinic Skinner Trap

Large Yellow Underwing x 1
Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing x 1
Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing x 1 (NFY)
Straw Underwing x 7 (NFY)
Copper Underwing x 1 (NFY)
Dark Arches x 1
Uncertain x 6
Common Rustic x 1? (would be NFY)
Shuttle-shaped Dart x 2
Flame Shoulder x 1
Willow Beauty x 2 (NFY)


Pyrausta purpularis x 1 (NFG, NFY)
Acleris laterana x 1 (NFG/NFY)
Tachystola acroxantha x 1 (NFG/NFY)
Agriphila inquinatella x 6 (NFG/NFY)

As always if any of my id's are incorrect please leave a comment.


Rohrerbot said...

I like the idea of people getting together and swapping notes. Quite brilliant really.

Ragged Robin said...

There's an excellent network of websites and forums in the UK helping with id not just for moths but all wildlife. As you say its really quite brilliant :D.

I've been really lucky too in that fellow bloggers who are far more knowledgeable about moths than me! (thanks Dean and Stewart:D) have helped me out on numerous occasions!

BTW - really loved your recent posts on NASA and the Solar System and the SciFi convention.