"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

Monday, 20 August 2012

Lots of New Moth Ticks for the Year!

It was hot and humid on Saturday night and, as I expected, there were lots of moths in the trap on Sunday morning, including several new species for the year. Loads of moths escaped as I was potting them up which was just as well in one way as I ended up running out of pots!

First of all Copper Underwings had arrived en masse

And here's a view of the underside of the moth - although I didn't manage to get a photo the underwings are a lovely copper colour

There is a very similar species called Svensson's Copper Underwing and, depending on which website you visit, there are various ways of distinguishing them such as differences in the palps or underside of the hindwing colouration or length of projections. Must admit I don't have a lot of confidence in my ability to distinguish between the two species but I think they were all Copper.

Also new for year were several Lesser Yellow Underwings

and Flounced Rustic

Here's 3 Flounced Rustics together showing slight variation in colour and amounts of wear

I was really pleased to find a Mint Moth micro - again there are two very similar species but I think this is Pyrausta aurata. If you grow mint in your garden you may well see these - they are tiny but very pretty (all pinks, purples and orange and look like tiny fairies!)

Flame Shoulder - a really handsome looking moth

I caught a male and a female Orange Swift

First the more brightly coloured male

and the more sombre female. Sadly, she had been laying eggs :( When things like this happen I feel really guilty about trapping moths but I did find some dock and dandelion in the garden (larva food plants) and put the eggs there in the hope they might hatch.

There were quite a few Light Brown Apple moths (a tiny micro)

and a Shuttle-shaped Dart

And I just love the antennae on this Willow Beauty

I only potted a few micros and the photo below shows one of the reasons why. As soon as you get them out of the fridge and take them out of the pot they are intent on escape and I find it really hard to even get a photo!!

If any of the above id's are wrong please let me know!

And now for the queries

I am sure I should recognise this macro but I really haven't a clue

I think this tiny micro is one of the Agriphila species - straminella??

Again I am sure I should know this moth - is it a worn Square-spot rustic?

Any help on the above would as always be really appreciated.

Summary of Moths Trapped Saturday, 18th August

Minimum Temperature 14.5 degrees centigrade
8.30 p.m. until dawn
15w Actinic Skinner Trap

2303 Straw Underwing (Thalpophila matura) x 3

2297 Copper Underwing (Amphipyra pyramidea) x 31 NFY

2107 Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) x 5

2109 Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) x 5 NFY

2111 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (Noctua janthe) x 1

2353 Flounced Rustic (Luperina testacea) x 11 NFY

1937 Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria) x 2

0015 Orange Swift (Hepialus sylvina) x 2

2293 Marbled Beauty (Cryphia domestica) x 3

1713 Riband Wave (Idaea aversata) x 2

1738 Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata) x 2

2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta) x 1

2102 Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta) x 1 NFY

1361 Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata) x 1 NFY

0998 Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana) x 4

2343 Common Rustic (Mesapamea secalis) x 1


Rohrerbot said...

This is quite the undertaking. I saw the side of the building this past weekend covered in moths. There are so many varieties of moths. I don't know how you do it, but I admire the time you put into the research. Definitely looks like a fun task. I think the tenting bit would be exciting. You never know what you'll find:) Hope your week has been fun.

ShySongbird said...

A very impressive collection there Caroline. It is surprising how, at first glance, such rather drab looking moths are actually quite attractive and they have such intricate markings. A nightmare to identify! I still love the names, just think if you discovered a new one it would probably be named the Ragged Robin, I think that sounds a great name for a moth :-)

I couldn't help feeling sorry for the one that was egg laying! I hope the eggs survive.

Ragged Robin said...

Rohrerbot - Hi Chris - I don't know how many species of moths you have over there - here in Britain we have about 2500 species and yes, as you may have gathered id (for me!) isn't easy. There again I find it a lot easier than I did as you recognise the more common species. Having a great week thanks - we hired a fun car today :) Hope you are having a good week too!

ShySongbird - Thanks Jan. Magnified even the most boring look moths are really rather pretty as you say. The id nightmare means I'm mainly sticking to macros at present!! I just love the names too - I do wish an expert would write a book explaining the common and latin names! As far as I can see such a book doesn't yet exist:(

It would be wonderful to discover a new species!!

The egg laying scenario has only happened twice thank goodness.

Toffeeapple said...

I didn't know that the Mint Moths were so called! I have lots of them in my little patch, such pretty little things. I'm glad now that I have all that mint growing there.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - great to hear you've got these beautiful little moths in your mint patch :)