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Posts Tagged ‘Twenty-plume Moth’

The lack of posting shouldn’t be taken to reflect a diminution in my attentiveness. But there are only so many photographs of hoverflies I can bring myself to take.

Conditions are distinctly mild but not actually cold, and rather damp. Not astonishing, then, that I found what I found lurking in an open bag of compost which I shifted when doing some tidying up this afternoon:

Common Frog

Common Frog

Having sifted through the few photographs I’ve taken over the past few days there are a couple of half decent moths, including a return of the Twenty-plume moth which I saw one example of last month but wasn’t able to photograph then as well as this:

Twenty-plume Moth (alucita hexadactyla)

Twenty-plume Moth (alucita hexadactyla)

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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.

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