Friday, 19 June 2015

Wearing of the green

I nearly missed my most interesting moth this morning because of the effectiveness of its camouflage. Was it a coincidence that the Light Emerald, above, chose the only green eggbox in the trap? I don't think so.  Not that all moths are so savvy when it comes to background. What explains the choice made by the Clouded Silver below?

The Light Emerald is unrelated to the ten other Emerald moths - they are nearly 30 pages apart in the Moth Bible - but it shares a feature of the colour green. This fades faster than any other colour in the spectrum on moths. It is commonplace to find a bleached emerald moth after only a few weeks of its life. Older specimens in collections need to be preserved so far as possible from any light or their colour is lost for ever.

Another delightful visitor last night was this Marbled Coronet, below, a moth which is almost impossible to see on lichen or bark, hence my choice of my pyjamas as the background. I tried to entice the moth on to some lichen on a wall, to prove my first point, but it spotted a crack in the mortar and wisely scuttled into it and out of reach. 

The next picture shows another newcomer for the year, a Heart and Club, and then we've a more familiar pair, a Peppered Moth in the background, behind a Spectacle, whose perky look I could not resist.

The immigrant Bordered Straw put in another appearance, below, and the regular Privet Hawk found a new resting position, gazing at the mercury vapour bulb in adoration from the neck of the trap's funnel.

Now for a little rogue's gallery of micros, which I will endeavour to ID. Left to right, top to bottom, I'm going for Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix (Pandens ceresana), Bud moth (Spilonota ocellana), Um, Er and finally Scoparia pyralella. Fingers crossed... Update: Trent kindly confirms these and fills in the missing one as Celypha lacunana (which I've often had and ought to recognise by now). Dave Wilton on Upper Thames Moths' blog, meanwhile, cautions that Scoparids are difficult to be sure of unless in fresh condition. As I say in my reply to Trent below, it's a tricky old business!

Lastly, I'm not sure what this is, below. A Square-spot Rustic with some scales missing? Update: Trent confirms SSR. Many thanks.


Trent Duval said...

Hi Martin
Pandemis cerasana for sure, your Bud Moth looks good.
Bottom left is certainly pyralella and bottom right is Celypha lacunana.
Small Square-spot finally

Martin Wainwright said...

Hi Trent

Thanks very much as ever. I put three of the moths on the Upper Thames Moths blog and Dave Wilton commented:" I'd be hesitant to ID the Scoparids although I should say that I don't think either one is as you've labelled it (mercurella and pyralella, the latter the one shown here - M). They can be done when clearly marked and when you've "got your eye in" but the bottom one in particular looks rather too worn. Pyralella stands out from the crowd when fresh because its cross lines are a bright white compared to the more greyish-white colour of the others.

A tricky business!

all v best as ever