Monday, 22 July 2013

The Lord of the Rings

On 4 August 2012, I set my garden moth trap for the very first time. I had never trapped before and with my limited knowledge I was overwhelmed when I opened the trap the following morning. Moths were escaping before I could identify them and I had no specimen pots to collect them. I took photographs of each moth for later identification, but I was not experienced in how to do this and the resulting photographs were poor.

On the very first eggbox there was a pug (which I have never identified) and a larger Geometrid. I took a photograph, the moths flew away and it was only  later in the day that I attempted to name them. Thanks to some assistance I realised the larger moth was probably an Annulet, a very uncommon moth in Shropshire with a just handful of records and none since 1998. Unfortunately the moth was worn and my photograph was so poor that it was not good enough for verification. For me to catch such a good moth and fail to confirm it was just so frustrating.

Fast forward to nearly 12 months later, and on Monday morning I was greeted with this moth, an indisputable Annulet, resting on the funnel of the trap.

The Annulet

Of all the moth pictures I have looked at over the last year, I have most frequently looked at pictures of the Annulet. I knew it immediately from the hollow rings that give the moth its name, the jagged cross-lines and the scalloped edge to the hindwing. It is a cryptic and unassuming moth (it's latin name is Charissa obscurata), but for me it is a wonderful creature and redemption for me in my learning of moths. Of course, the really interesting thing will be to see how often we catch this species in the Strettons, which may prove to be a county stronghold.

There were some other nice moths in the trap of course. One of these was a returning visitor from last year, the Dotted Clay. A common moth that we can expect so see visiting our traps over the next few weeks.

Dotted Clay

There are some groups of the large moth species that are very difficult to identify from each other, without resorting to dissecting them. One of the groups are the Daggers, with the Grey Dagger and Dark Dagger not able to be reliably identified in the field. One of these was resting outside the trap, and though we cannot name it, it does not take away from what a good looking moth it is.

Dark/Grey Dagger

I will finish with a couple of very attractive moths from Saturday night, that I found in the porch when I returned from the pub. Both are new species for me and have not appeared in the blog before. These are the Small Blood-vein and the White Plume Moth.

Small Blood-vein

White Plume Moth

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