Saturday, 13 June 2015


There was a rush of bookings at the Moth Hotel on Thursday night, a dry and warmish interlude before the wet spell which started late this afternoon. Among the crowds were a couple of summer regulars - the Snout and the Straw Dot. Their names are spot-on - or in the latter case - dot-on. Sorry to be slow in reporting, incidentally, but life has been busy and there were quite a few moths to sort. Indeed, as you will see shortly, sorting is not yet complete. Update: as I meant to say and as Trent kindly points out in Comments, the pretty like micro in my first two pictures is Udea olivalis.

The Snout is the Pinocchio of UK moths with its curious palps reaching much further forward in proportion to its body than those of most moths. These instruments, whose rough equivalents in humans are kept discreetly inside the mouth and nose, help the insect to test food plants, moisture and the like. They are not quite as much to be envied as moths' antennae, in which the human race is sadly lacking.

Here's a Straw Dot, above, one of three in the eggboxes which sheltered four Snouts altogether. Up above them at the top of the eggbox tower was this handsome visitor of another sort, below, which I take to be a Green Shield Bug. Update: no, I think my first Commentor is right to suggest that this is a Hawthorn Shield Bug. This has no connection with an Australian hockey competition for the Hawthorn Shield.

A Common Marbled Carpet, next in the sequence of photos, was accompanied by a smaller, different and very nice carpet moth of another kind. Initially this was resting with its wings held up over its body in butterfly fashion. On a slight, accidental nudge to the box, it swiftly changed to the more familiar, open-wings position, an excellent camouflage on bark or foliage and common in slightly varying forms to most of these small, delicate moths. Which Carpet is it? I remain unsure. Update: but my unfailing helpful commentors agree on Large Twin-spot. Many thanks.

I put the trap in the shade of an oak and a beech tree, surrounded on three sides by cow parsley. This is an ideal spot for attracting tiny flies - see below how the eggboxes filled up with the wriggly little things.

We also had a lustrously pink Elephant Hawk moth, teetering vertically on the edge of an eggbox precipice:

And that dashing, rakishly wing-angled moth, the Angle Shades. Like many of his or her predecessors, he or she chose to rest on an eggbox cone, apparently ready for a vertical take-off.

The category of small brown or grey moths was well-represented among the clientele, and the following four moths caught my eye. I think that the first four are Marbled Minors of different colourways and the fifth and sixth Rosy Marbled Minors, agreeable name. Please correct me if I am, as so often, wrong. Update: and I definitely am on the last two because, agreeable though it may sound, there is no such moth as the Rosy Marbled Minor. I was thinking of the Rosy Minor; but on closer inspection, I think these are Middle-barred Minors. Further update: See Trent's very interesting comment below on the frustrations of Minor IDs.

Trent points out in Comments that the Minor's little pal is Celypha striana.

And finally, a micro whose identity I hope to establish before night falls and, rain permitting, the light comes on again. Update: but I didn't. Thankfully both my commentors have. It's Mompha subbistrigella. Once again, heartfelt thanks, both.


Anonymous said...

Hi Martin

These are by no means certain, but before one of your pros provides the correct answers, I think i'll have a punt. For your Carpet I'm thinking Large Twin-spot Carpet. Assuming the next six are all Minors, I'm going to have a go with Marbled for the first three, maybe a Rufous with what I think is a Tortrix, but I've no idea which and Middle-barred for the other two.I think the last moth is a Mompha and I'm going for subbistrigella. Leave some flies for someone else and can one of your legends get the moth to the left of them! Oh and I think the bug might be a Hawthorn Sheild Bug.

Trent Duval said...

Hi Martin,
The Lumix is getting better.
2nd photo down is Udea olivalis.
Looks like you have Common Marbled Carpet and Large Twin-spot Carpet.
Your top 4 Minors can only be separated by dissection so take your pick, Marbled, Tawny Marbled (I'd bank on a couple of Tawny's in there) and Rufous.
The 4th Minor down has Celypha striana for company.
The 5th and 6th are Middle-barred Minors and your previous commentator is spot on with Mompha subbistrigella.
Try this site for ID, it has plenty of photos and links to other sites, I find it very useful.

Martin Wainwright said...

Hi there and many thanks for these - with many apols for the delay. Busy times...

Thanks for the Lumix comment too, Trent. I think I'm slowly getting the knack. Not rushing too much while it focuses may be the key.

I'm extremely grateful for all those IDs and will update shortly. Bah to Minors, eh! Pesky things. But beautiful in their patterns and the variations of them. Thanks for the bug knowledge too!

all warm wishes as ever