Friday, 12 August 2016

Bobs and bits

Buoyed up by my superhuman success in identifying micros a couple of posts ago, I am now going to see if the same magic applies to my remaining backlog of macro moths. These have all arrived in the past week and it is nice to sign them off, although tonight's trapping will no doubt take me back to square one. There are just so many moths around at this time of the year.

Nearly all of them have been here in previous years but it's always pleasant to welcome them back, especially when they come with satisfyingly intriguing patterns like those in my first picture - a  Lychnis moth. The caterpillars of these feed on Campion which risks confusion with the very similar Campion moth which has the same diet. I hope that I have not been confused this time.

Next, in a very similar colourway, comes an example of the prettiest and most complex of the hideously varied moth the Common or Lesser/Common Rustic. And just below is another form, more frequent here, whose 'judo player' outline makes it easier to identify, for me at least.

And just to ram home the point, here is a third, very common version. No wonder that I struggle.

A Nut-tree Tussock follows, with its little slanting 'eyes' and then an example of that finely streamlined moth, the Shaded Broad-bar.

Now we move on to thinner ice with one of those greyish noctuids - much the largest UK family of macro-moths - for which I struggle to find enthusiasm. I am going to plump for a Vine's Rustic but it could be either a plain Rustic or an Uncertain moth - the two aptly-named 'confusion' species in a trio which shares the Linnaean first name Hoplodrina. The extent of muddling led to the name Uncertain. There is also a Confused moth in the UK but it is muddled with the Dark Brocade, Nutmeg and Crescent Striped. You can see why I get annoyed.

Next, by contrast, we have a Flounced Rustic (with a companion which I will not attempt to identify) and then a Chestnut moth keeping a close eye on the eggs' sell-by date.


The moth below is clearly one of the Ys, frisky after I disturbed it and ready for take off. I don't think it's rich enough to be one of the Golden Ys (Plain and Beautiful though in truth both lovely), so I will go for Silver Y, the type of moth which so dramatically appeared at the final of this year's European Cup.

And so to some easy ones, familiar faces all: a Ruby Tiger giving an unusual flash of its rosy body, an Iron Prominent with its dog-like, paws-stretched way of resting as it observes a nearby fly, and a female Ghost moth (the male is the pallid white colour which accounts for the name).

And finally a slightly uncertain trio:  the top one is either an unusually dark Spectacle moth or the separate Dark Spectacle species; the  middle one a  darkly handsome Square-spot Rustic and the last one a graceful Willow Beauty. I think.

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