Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Same difference

Willow and Sallow abound round here, with both a river and a canal within an easy walk from the garden. Not surprising, then, that we are visited regularly and in large numbers at the moment by the Sallow moth. What may surprise some readers, however, is the variability of the Sallow. My first three pictures are all of this species, in descending order of strength of colour in the creme caramel pattern.

The last of the three is the most washed-out although you can see the same basic structure of the different colours.  To add to the confusion (at least in the heads of poor moth-identifyers such as myself), there is a relative called the Pink-barred Sallow which is alarmingly similar. I don't think that either of the top two in my series of pictures is one of those, but I have been wrong before...

Another moth which is very common in the trap at the moment shares this range of colouring within a single species: the Lunar Underwing. The next four pictures are all of Lunar Underwings. I wonder if they find humans disconcertingly different in appearance.

Good to see a handsome Silver Y perching proudly on the bowl top, meanwhile, with a very washed out Green Carpet on the canopy. 

Finally, I think our micro moth representative today is a Bee moth, aka Aphomia sociella, Its name derives from its habit of nesting in old bumblebees' nests, where its caterpillars can be found feeding off the remains of dead former inhabitants. Update: I think that both Trent and the commentor on the next post are right to say that my 'Bee moth' is actually an immigrant species, the Rush Veneer. Many thanks to both.


Trent Duval said...

Hi Martin,
Your Bee Moth bears a striking resemblance to Nomophila noctuella, the Rush Veneer

Martin Wainwright said...

Thanks very much as always, Trent. Mea culpa

all v best