Monday, 20 July 2015


Second only to my bungled IDs, the main (and fully justified) criticism I get from readers here is about the lack of scale. Are the moths I feature large or small, tiny or vast? I take the point but I don't want (and admittedly partly can't be bothered) to stick a ruler in every photograph. Instead, I hope that my fascination with eggboxes will gradually become general. Once you know how big they are, and the details of their various features of recesses and cones, the size of the moths should no longer be an issue.

I also try to include helpful features in the background, such as other dozing insects, my pyjamas or, fairly frequently, my fingers and thumbs. Today's top picture, for example, shows that tiny dagger of a moth, Catoptria pinella (if I am not mistaken) with my thumb lurking behind. A little distant, I know, but it gives you a notion.

Feeling specially helpful, I've then combined the picture above of lovely Acleris forsskaleana in a typical eggbox folding-groove (typical to us eggbox savants, that is), with one below taken from a distance and showing the whole box. Isn't he or she minute? 

And so to some other visitors - ID-ed like yesterday's by captions which one and all are invited to check, confirm or put right.


Dusky Sallow - pretty moth

Lesser Cream Wave

Pyrausta aurata - slightly different from Penny's birthday Pyrausta purpuralis

Small Emerald - large thumb

Now for one or two curious recent sights in the trap. First, a wasp briefly paid court to a lovely Marbled Green but a love match was not to be.

Then a socking great micro - one of the Crambyds? - appeared to have similar ambitions towards an Elephant Hawk:

A Poplar Hawk - one of many which visit me at the moment - looped the bulb flex loop

Picnic mugs left over from the day before provided a cheery background for a Coronet:

And finally, here's an unexpected guest: a Meadow Brown butterfly which got muddled up between day and night. Note, for those who often ask the differences between moths and butterflies, here is one: butterflies always hold their wings like this, folded vertically above their bodies. A few moths do the same, but most prefer the flat-n-folded-back look. Update: check out the very interesting points made on some of the above in Comments.


Anonymous said...

Hi Martin

I personally think you got them all right yesterday, with obviously the Minor being iffy at the best of times. Today I think it might be a Riband Wave with the A.forrskaleana, though you probably got that already. Dusky Sallow was a new moth to me and I struggled to find it in the book despite knowing where to look! Nice moth. I think your LCW might be a Small Fan-footed Wave, your Pyrausta aurata for me is almost certainly The Gold Triangle - Hypsopygia costalis and I think your Small Emerald could actually be a Light Emerald. Great little pic of the C.pinella by the way, which I would think is right, as I think is the Dun-bar.

For the second part of your post, they all look right to my amateur eyes and I think with the Elephant Hawkmoth i'll have a guess at The Uncertain,Eudonia lacustrata(though as you know, you shouldn't really guess these ones even from good angles)and I think the one crawling on the EHM could be a Dioryctria the most common one in the book being abietella, although I personally think yours looks most like the very local sylvestrella. This is another group you're apparently not supposed to guess, but maybe someone on Upper Thames might be able to at least confirm it's a Dioryctria, especially if you have a pic from the side.

MartinWainwright said...

Thanks so much for this - you are a watchtower of accuracy and truth. I will do some updating. No trapping tonight - Fri 24 July - as it's wet, wet, wet. About time too so far as the garden is concerned, though. All warmest, M

Anonymous said...

Hi Martin.

No problem, I enjoy having a guess, especially as every now and then one of your genuinely knowledgeable commenters might confirm or correct them.

These are merely suggestions that it might be worth another look in the book or on UKmoths etc. They are never definitive answers and I'm wrong many times, always go with what you think best.

Having said that, I think the possible Uncertain from the 23rd might be worth a comparison against the equally brilliantly named Confused or perhaps more likely Common Rustic(agg. unless chopped, because of Lesser Common and Remm's)!