Sunday, 2 August 2015

Mint Condition

The weather has improved from mid-week, mainly in that it is a bit warmer. Having only caught three moths the last time I put out the moth trap, I decided to have another go on Saturday evening. Part of the spur was this lovely little moth found by Jo in the garden. It is a Pyrausta aurata, commonly referred to as a mint moth (though the larva feed on a variety of different herbs), and it is a new record for the garden.

Pyrausta aurata

This morning there were 102 moths of 51 species, quite a nice haul. This included a few new moths for the year, including five of this lovely little micro moth Carcina quercana. As the scientific name suggests, this is a feeder on Oak (Quercus), though it will also use Beech (Fagus) and both are found in and around the garden. This is the first micromoth I identified when I started moth trapping, partly helped by the fact that it features on the front cover of my micro moth book.

Carcina quercana

Another moth that I recorded on my very first trapping session was Scalloped Oak Crocallis elinguaria, but since then I have only caught one indivudal. That changed this morning with two nice examples in and around the trap.

Scalloped Oak Crocallis elinguaria

A moth which has proven to be a bit more regular in the high summer is Catoptria pinella. This was the first appearance of the year for this beautiful little moth. It is generally not a common garden species, as it is locally distributed and likes damp grassy habitats. I seem to do quite well for it here though.

Catoptria pinella

One of the commonest micro moths in the garden, and in fact in the whole of the country, is Celypha lacunana. There were two really fresh individuals in the trap of this smart little moth,  which I thought were worth getting a photograph of. This moth has catholic tastes, and will use a wide variety of herbaceous plants, which must be one of the secrets of it's success.

Celyp[ha lacunana

Another very common moth here is the Holly Tortrix Rhopobota naevana. Whilst this moth can appear to be quite variable between individuals, the basic pattern is always the same and it's flattened body makes it very distinctive once you are familiar with it. I have also recorded the larvae of this moth in the garden, in folds of holly leaves.

Holly Tortrix Rhopobota naevana

One of the moths that I caught for the first time in my bumper 600+ catch in mid-July was Small Dotted Buff Photedes minima. Unfortunately the moth escaped before I was able to photograph it, but this morning I was given a second chance with two individuals in the trap.

Small Dotted Buff Photedes minima

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