Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Dark Arches’

Last night was quiet again, even quieter than the previous night though with an almost completely new cast of characters.

A Dark Arches again lurked, in almost the same place. Had it not been for the moth’s absence during the day (oh, and the lack of any damage to the trailing edge) I might have thought it the same specimen. But a Small Magpie and a phylctaenia cornata were back again as well as a pair (this time) of another micro moth, agapeta hamana.

The other two moths in last night were large moths I haven’t yet ID’d, though I think these are both new ones or at least moths making their first appearance this year. And they both appear already to have been in the wars. Unfortunately neither is captured terribly well so I’ve rather handicapped myself in terms of sorting out what they are. At the moment I think the first a Wainscot and the second possibly the Dingy Shears. I have a rather hectic weekend ahead so may not get these nailed until early next week when I have a bit of what passes as ‘down time’.

Wainscot?

Wainscot?

100_3260

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

After a couple of barren nights there were moths in the bathroom yesterday and they offered a new twist on the old mystification challenge.

On first glance the crop, actually small by the standards being set a week ago on the back of the spell of genuinely warm weather we had (Summer?), seemed to include perhaps as many as three or even four new moths. Alas, on inspection of the pictures I took I’m convinced that none of them were new for me and only one a new visitor this year.

On the other hand if I’m right about the moths to visit, and my can IF be a mighty big word in certain contexts, then last night’s visitors offer an insight into the ravages of the passage of what for moths is I suppose a long period of time.

The first moth, however, was a Dark Arches which is a moth I particularly like for there is something dignified about the way it conducts itself – and the markings are elaborate and subtle at the same time. I am beginning to understand that different species can be expected to exhibit certain behaviours and this is a species that isn’t given to displays of hysteria at the flick of a light switch.

It was a fine specimen, unblemished but for a small nick in the right hind which might well have been the result of a close encounter with a hungry bird*.

The Clay is a species that was visiting in numbers and regularly during the warm weather; two were in last night. The Clay, unlike the Dark Arches, is reluctant to settle and difficult to work with. I have plenty of photographs and only took last night’s set to prompt me in the morning when I made notes so I can compile a detailed list at the end of the year.

Early on I spotted a conventionally crisp Least Carpet (idaea rusticata atrosignaria) which is a species I’ve recorded a number of times already. I thought nothing much of it, took one photograph and moved on. Later another similar moth came in fluttered about restlessly and made itself generally difficult to photograph. I succeeded, eventually. But in the bathroom light I was not sure I was taking photographs of the same moth species.

100_3213

Least Carpet (idaea rusticata atrosignata)

Least Carpet (idaea rusticata atrosignata)

But after looking at these two photographs I’m all but convinced I’m looking at two moths of the same species; one new-minted (top) the other rather worn.

High on the same wall as the Dark Archs was another moth which I was much more sure must be a new species though I couldn’t immediately recall seeing anything it resembled. Then today I’ve had time to examine the pictures I took and I think I’ve again got a study in what happens as time passes for a moth. Allowing for the possibility I’m completely wrong I think this is a desperately faded Bright-line Brown-eye. The only room for doubt seems to me that the eye is quite small, unlike as in full coloured specimens that have been in the house. I’m intrigued. The lower picture is for comparison, the upper figure is of the moth in the bathroom last night.

100_3225

Bright-line Brown-eye

Bright-line Brown-eye

There was just one pyralid in the bathroom, but I got a picture of it I’m rather pleased with – though the ID is uncertain:

agriphila latistria?

agriphila latistria?

Finally, last night my bathroom was graced with the presence of an instantly recognisable moth I’ve only seen once before. I knew it the minute I saw it, trying to hide low on a wall and in shadow. It looked like a molten drop of gun metal grey but the shape is distinctive (the extravagently high ‘collar’ in particular is a give away). Only the photographs I took when looked at this morning revealed clearly the markings that lend this moth its name. It is the Spectacle (abrostola tripartita), so called because of the rings that look like, well, specacles:

The Spectacle (abrostola tripartita)

The Spectacle (abrostola tripartita)

While the above photograph shows the wing markings best it is the next photo, otherwise poor, that shows the giveaway markings best:

The Spectacle (abrostola tripartita)

The Spectacle (abrostola tripartita)

And so, overall it was a night of some frustration (at least partly connected to IDing the moths) and puzzlement and some delight at finding new species.

 

Read Full Post »

I know I’m tempting fate, here. It has dawned on me that had I applied myself with the same focus, dedication and commitment at school or after university in my career things might have turned out rather differently. I’d be sitting behind a desk somewhere, or in an airport lounge somewhere or interviewing someone I secretly despise … no I can’t regret putting management consulting behind me.

As it is last night there were 17 species of moth in the bathroom last night, and of them just two remain unidentified. Slowly but steadily this is getting easier, I’m getting measurably better at it. Two of the moths making their first ever appearance I readily recognised immediately just because I’ve invested so much in this over the past two months – putting in probably four hours a day. Perhaps my orchestra career might not have stalled at the third violin section if I’d invested that much time per day in practising.

Small Cream wave (idaea fuscovenosa)

Small Cream wave (idaea fuscovenosa)

The above image was actually taken earlier in the day when I spotted this little moth on the inside of the back door, the remainder were taken later at night long after dark. The hot spell continues despite my best effort to sabotage it by digging swimwear out of the closet and I’d left the patio doors open as well as the bathroom light on so the moths were coming at me from more than one direction. I counted 17 moth species in total (including the Dwarf Cream Wave above) which isn’t the highest figure of the year but of that lot I’ve readily identified all but two.

Things will probably go horribly wrong tonight. In the meantime last night’s crew included the Clay, the Bee Moth, the Willow Beauty, the Riband Wave, the Least Carpet, the Small Magpie, phylctaenia coronata, the Diamond-back and the Brown House Moth – all of which have already been in the house on at least one occasion this year. Note the absence from that list of the Common Emerald – upwards of a dozen a night for days on end and then abruptly not one. Curious.

Last night I had my first visit for the year of a readily recognisable macro moth that in other years has been a frequent caller:

Silver-Y (autographa gamma)

Silver-Y (autographa gamma)

And four moths that are new for me including one that isn’t found all over Britain, but is essentially a moth of East Anglia:

Dark Arches (apamea monoglypha)

Dark Arches (apamea monoglypha)

Dark Arches (apamea monoglypha)

Dark Arches (apamea monoglypha)

The Dark Arches is described as ‘common and abundant’ so why is this the first one I’ve seen? No idea.  The larvae feed on a variety of grasses.

The Snout (hypena proboscidalis)

The Snout (hypena proboscidalis)

This is another larger moth and also common and fairly widespread. The foodstuff is predominantly Common Nettle, so that’s OK. It is on the wing between June and October so possibly not the last one I’ll see; that being usually how it works.

Dotted Fan-foot (macrochilo cribrumalis)

Dotted Fan-foot (macrochilo cribrumalis)

This moth is on the wing between June and August and is found across South-east England but particularly in East Anglia. The larvae feed on wood-sedge, hairy and field wood-rush. It is prefers bogs and marshy areas so it had wandered a bit off its usual turf.

The final one is my favourite. Much smaller than the other two, I almost missed it as it had gone to rest on the window. Being both small and almost transparent I couldn’t photograph it there and had to persuade it to move to a wall.

Twenty-plume Moth (alucita hexadactyla)

Twenty-plume Moth (alucita hexadactyla)

This is the solitary British member of the Alucitidae family of micro moths. It has a wingspan of 15mm and though common I can imagine it is easy enough to overlook, though unmistakable once spotted. It is on the wing throughout the year and the larvae feed on honeysuckle.

The other two moths I’ve not been able to definitively ID, though one is undoubtedly a plume moth and other probably a noctuid:

Plume moth

Plume moth

A noctuid?

A noctuid?

[This is almost certainly the Rustic (hoplodrina blanda) or, fittingly and more likely, the Uncertain (hoplodrina alsines) – these two species are difficult to distinguish.]

And that was relatively easy peasy.

Read Full Post »