"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

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

An Orange Swift visits the Garden

Another low catch from the moth trap last Saturday night.

Lesser yellow underwing was new for the year but the highlight was an orange swift (Hepialus sylvina) which is the first I've trapped in the garden. Quite a common moth and, although tiny, it has lovely markings.

Swifts are primitive moths with long narrow wings like a dragonfly or lacewing. They tend to flap their wings in a similar manner to butterflies which was described by entomologists in the past as being "feverish" - leading to the family name of Hepialidae which comes from the Greek and means "to shiver". The name swift may have originated because of the bird with the same name or because the moths fly low and swiftly.

Orange Swift

Summary of Moths Trapped Saturday 13th August

9.15 p.m. until dawn
Minimum temperature 12.5 degrees centigrade
15w actinic skinner trap

Willow Beauty x 2
Straw Underwing x 2
Marbled Beauty x 5
Common Rustic x 1
Lesser Yellow Underwing x 1 New for Year
Orange Swift x 1 New for Garden
Large Yellow Underwing x 1
Setaceous Hebrew Character x 1

Agriphila inguinatella x 1

There were a dozen or so pyralid micro moths in the trap but I'm afraid I gave up trying to identify them they are just so similar.

I do have the "British Moths and Butterflies" book by Chris Manley which covers micros but I would love to hear of any other micro id books that anyone can recommend.


"Bugs Britannica" by Peter Marren and Richard Mabey

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