Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Going for gold

The weather may have turned cold and rainy, but last week there was still some warmth and moth activity. I ran the trap on Monday night and was pleased to record three new species, along with a couple of 'NFY' (new for the year) moths. Undoubted highlight was this Gold Spot, a moth which is typically found in damp habitats.

Gold Spot

Unlike this rather handsome moth, the other new two species had seen far better days. In fact one of them took me quite a while to identify. The first had suffered from a bit of battering, this Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing. Despite having much of it's wings missing, the markings were still clear.

Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing

The other new moth was a different proposition. Moths belong to Lepidoptera, and the literal translation of this is (lepis) scale (pteron) wing. The reason is that the wings of moths are covered with a huge number of tiny scales, which give the patterns and colours. As moths age so do these scales age, fade and disappear. This means that moths become'worn', which leads to much head-scratching when trying to identify them. This Chevron moth is great example, when fresh these are beautiful yellow and orange moths. In this instance I caught two of these grey looking insects!


My two 'NFY' moths were in much better shape. It was a welcome return for the Hedge Rustic, an attractive moth of dark hues which is quite common here in the autumn.

Hedge Rustic

I also had this November Moth 'agg.' This is one of a group of moths which are virtually indistinguishable from each other, without resorting to some drastic measures of dissection.

November Moth agg.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

When I'm cleaning windows

Household chores took on an unexpected twist today. With friends visiting I was tasked with cleaning the downstairs front room windows, and I took this on with gusto. The end result was not too bad, as I hope you will agree (though I did not earn an honest bob).

As I was packing away I noticed this Red Underwing lurking by the window frame. Somehow I had failed to notice this (lets face it, quite large) insect in the previous 20 or so minutes! I was obviously concentrating hard on getting a nice gleaming finish.

Red Underwing

If you can see what I can see...

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Yellow fever

Tis a couple of weeks since my last post and the above title refers to the fact that for most of the nights when the trap has been on (8 times) there has been around a 100 "Yellow Underwings" in it.

The majority have been the Large variety, with the Lesser Broad-bordered close behind and increasing numbers of Lesser. Large Yellow Underwings tend to blunder round in the trap and often cause the smaller moths to be damaged - sometimes called LY Blunderwings!

However, I have been out and about, finding lots of interesting moths and their larvae (caterpillars). You may recall an Elephant Hawkmoth larva on the blog recently, well, at the same site (Nutbatch) I recently found another, but this one was a younger version - see how they change as they grow up!

Elephant Hawkmoth (l)

I was happy to catch this moth near Edgton (Ridgeway) on the afternoon of the 15th. Looked at from above, it appears like a "Playboy" bunny, but viewed from the side, certainly not!

Ypsolopha sequella

Ypsolopha sequella 

On the 27th, in the trap was another micro-moth new to me, this was a Gelechid (duly reported to the recording scheme) called Hypatima rhomboidella, but I think it is mis-named. What to you think?

Hypatima rhomboidella

Today we went for a wander up Carding Mill Valley and I was looking to find Coleophorid larval cases and indeed found lots of them on Juncus. All I have to do now is identify them. I also found one on a Silver Birch leaf, and have the same problem.  Watch this space.

Coleophorid case (Juncus)

Coleophorid case (Birch)