Friday, 28 June 2013

Stab in the dark

If you were to hire an assassin in the moth world, here's your man (or woman): the Grey Dagger. How many blades can you count on its appropriately grey and furtive cloak? I make it four large ones and four poignards.

It was a regular visitor in Leeds but this is the first at our new home in Oxfordshire, It didn't enter the trap but lurked nearby on some wooden planking, well disguised, waiting to strike... Update on 2 July: I've been reading a bit about the various Daggers and this moth could be a Dark Dagger. The only way you can distinguish the species is by examination of their genitalia which is a step too far for someone who failed physics-with-chemistry O level and never really got off the ground in biology at all. Sorry.

Inside the trap there was a growing population; summer's warmer nights - at last - are bringing in the moths, including, in order of photographs, this Small Magpie micro, Pinnochio-style Snout moth and a beautiful little micro about half the length of the top of one of my thumbnails. I've added a close-up because it's so lovely (as our my pyjamas which you can see in the background. Isn't the eggbox fabric fascinating too?)

Finally - eek! - the year's first yellow underwing; a Large one. I apologise to these blameless moths but they used to infest the trap in Leeds in such numbers that I all but despaired (it takes quite a while, finding the moths safe havens from birds after inspecting the catch). Much as I love moths, I'm hoping there'll be fewer of these here.


David Shenton said...

Yes, the Large Yellow Underwings are coming...

Your pretty micro is, for me, Scoparia pyralella.



Bennyboymothman said...

Agree with David on Scoparia pyralella, this moth appears to be more common in recent years.
Things are looking up, we had 121 species the other night which is pretty good.
All the best

Martin Wainwright said...

Hi and many thanks both. Most unusually, I had correctly identified this moth but was away in Bradford last night and forgot to take the name with me.

So things are improving. And 121 species in one night Ben! Great stuff.

all warm wishes