Saturday, 27 April 2013

A matter of opinion

The moth trap has been out in Batch Valley several times in the last week, with a nice selection of species on show. Some have been rather straightforward to identify, others not so much! The highlight for me was this lovely moth recorded when emptying the trap on Thursday morning. It was not in the trap, but several metres away, resting on the garden furniture.

The Engrailed
This is a moth called The Engrailed.... or is it? There are two very similar species in the Ectropis group - The Engrailed and the Small Engrailed. They have a very similar appearance and are not without controversy. Some claim them to be two forms of the same species, and this has apparently been proven by DNA studies, whilst others believe them to be different species. Whatever the reality, they are extremely difficult to distinguish. Many moth recorders simply record any Ectropis in a UK garden as 'The Engrailed' (and so do I!).

The other tricky moth was this intriguing micro, which I caught on Monday night.

Caloptilia elongella or betulicola
This is from the same group of moths as the Caloptilia stigmatella in Wednesdays blog, but unlike this species the lack of distinctive markings makes a positive identification difficult. From the length and the plain appearance, we know it is one of C. elongella or C. betulicola, but we cannot be 100% sure which. My instinct is that it is the former, but many recorders believe that the two species cannot be separated without dissection. So this will have to stay a mystery for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment