Friday, 24 July 2015

From the Flames

Compared to Mothageddon a week ago, going through last nights moth trap was quite leisurely experience. There were still good numbers - 224 moths of 69 species - but I had enough pots and knew what most of the moths were. I also had two new species for garden, not quite up to last weeks additions, but a couple of keenly anticipated species.

Garden Tiger Arctia caja has only featured in the blog this year as the woolly bear caterpillar. I have been catching ones and twos of this species, and this one posed nicely as i released it from its egg box.

Garden Tiger Arctia caja

My first new moth of the morning was this slightly worn Grey Arches Polia nebulosa. I have previosuly seen this species on a Strettons Moth Survey, and possibly had one in the garden a couple of years ago but overlooked it as a pale Dark Arches Apamea monoglypha in my inexperience. I know a lot more know, and this moth really stood out.

Grey Arches Apamea monoglypha

This moth is quite a regular feature in the moth trap. If you were to look at the caterpillars of Grey Dagger Acronicta psi and Dark Dagger A. tridens you would be able to identify them easily. Whilst they look similar, they are different enough to be distinctive from each other. If you look at the adult moths like this one, they are identical and have to be recorded as one of the two species with reference to the genetalia. I have previously found a Grey Dagger caterpillar in the garden, with the distinctive yellow stripe and red spots, so I know this species can occur, though both would be likely visitors to Batch Valley.

Grey/Dark Dagger Acronicta psi/tridens

Rising from the flames of the moth trap was this Phoenix Eulithis prunata, a long-awaited new species for the garden. This moth was a lots more obvious than I imagined, with it being much larger than the confusion species Small Phoenix Ecliptopera silaceata.

The Phoenix Eulithis prunata

There were a couple of particularly nice micro moth species amongst the catch. One was my first two Agriphila inquinatella of the year. This is quite an irregular species for me.

Agriphila inquinatella

The other was a much more familiar species, this Cydia splendana, and particularly interesting as this is the dark form of this species. In this area this species larva is probably using acorn from Oak (Quercus).

Cydia Splendana

Also quite a small moth, but one of the 'macro' moth species, was this lovely Marbled Beauty Bryophila domestica. The scientific name of this species is quite telling. It feeds on lichens, and is often found in suburban habitats where lichens grow on walls.

Marbled Beauty Bryophila domestica

The final moth for this blog was this Plain Golden Y Autographa jota, my first one of this species so far this year.

Plain Golden Y Autographa jota

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