Monday, 10 August 2015

Signs of Autumn

With the most promising overnight forecast we have had for several days I decided to put out the MV Robinson moth trap on Saturday night. It was clear when I turned the trap on, but with high temperatures and predicted overcast conditions I though it was looking promising.

I was proved right in the morning. Though not quite matching the 600 moths of 'Mothageddon' a couple of weeks ago, the final totals were still impressive - 474 moths of 84 species. A quarter of the moths were Large Yellow Underwings Noctua pronuba, but otherwise there was a nice mix of moths with three new species for the garden and several new for the year. There were also not too many identification headaches, just a couple of tortrixes that I managed to pin down today.

Straight to the new species, and the first was a moth that I suspect I have overlooked in the past. This was the Buff Footman Eilema depressa, with two individuals. This was one of four species of footman recorded, with 36 Scarce Footman E. complana, 23 Common Footman E. lurideola and four Dingy Footman E. griseola.

Buff Footman Eilema depressa

The seconde new species was another that I have potentially overlooked in the past, though I am usually quite stringent on checking all of the Common Marbled Carpets Dysstroma truncata I catch. This is of course the Dark Marbled Carpet D. citrata, which can be separated by the shape of the post-median line on the underside of the hindwing amongst other subtle characters.

Dark Marbled Carpet Dysstroma citrata

Posing much less of an identification headache was this beautiful Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua fimbriata. This moth shows some sexual dimorphism, with females typically being a more orangey-buff, as with this individual, as opposed to the darker brown of the males. This species is pretty common and the larva feed on quite a range of different shrubs, though it is not a moth that I typically catch in significant numbers.

Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua fimbriana

Continuing on the yellow underwing theme, I also recorded the most diminutive of the group, this Least Yellow Underwing Noctua interjecta. This is not a common species, indeed I have only caught one individual before, so was a notable record for the garden.

Least Yellow Underwing Noctua interjecta

As the title of this blog suggests, there were some signs that autumn is just around the corner. In the late summer and into early autumn the Antler Moth Cerapteryx graminis becomes a regular feature in my moth trapping sessions. This is possibly my favourite moth, so my first record for the year has to feature on this blog. A real little stunner.

Antler Moth Cerapteryx graminis

Another notable species on Saturday night was Tawny-speckled Pug Eupithecia icterata. This is a moth I have again only recorded on one previous occasion, but there were three found resting on the garden furniture by the trap. One of the foodplants of this species is Yarrow Achillea millefolium, which I have let grow in profusion in the garden. Will this become a more regular species?

Tawny-speckled Pug Eupithecia icterata

Amongst a couple of mystery micro moths that had to be held over to today, one of them proved to be a new tortrix species Zeiraphera ratzeburgiana. This is a worn individual, which slowed down the identification process as this species shows a lot of tawny and black colouration. But detailed examination nailed it. This moth gets its name from the German entomologist J.T.C Ratzeburg.

Zeiraphera ratzeburgiana

There was also a new generation of Teleiopsis diffinis, a speciality in my garden, This species feeds on Sheep's Sorrel Rumex acetosa, which I let grow commonly in my garden and there were four of these moths in the trap.

Teleiopsis diffinis

So another good moth trapping session, and the yearlist has moved up to 275 species. I am hopeful of breaking the 300 barrier for the first time this year.

No comments:

Post a Comment