Moth Diaries ep.8

Despite almost a week without trapping due to 60mph winds and torrential rain (standard British summer weather), since episode seven I have managed to record a further 20 species, finally reaching a personal goal and taking the total number of species visiting the garden this year to 100 – who would have thought that whilst we are tucked up in bed, our suburban gardens can play host to such an array of species? Yet, it’s still June and in Mothing terms, still early. A goal for the year has now been set at 250 species and I think it’s doable. Here are the best of those trapped since episode seven and as always, many of these are stock photographs unless I’ve stated otherwise. Enjoy!

The Willow Beauty, a large moth clearly not afraid of the weather as they have been arriving in droves and early too; usually flying from July to August. They can be easily confused for the similar Mottled Beauty and Pale Oak Beauty so care needs to be taken for identification. The larvae feed on deciduous trees including Hawthorn and Ivy.
The Clouded Silver and a photograph of my own, this elegant moth is fairly common and on the wing in May and June in just a single brood. The larvae feed mainly on Hawthorn and Blackthorn.
Another shot of my own and another new Pug, this time Freyer’s Pug. Fairly frequent but not common in Leicestershire Rutland, the adult flies in May and June and can be found in parks, gardens, moorland, or limestone hills. The larvae feed on Cypress or Juniper
The first new Micro Moth to hit the trap and pose for the camera was this Scoparia ambigualis. Common from May to July the larvae feed on a variety of mosses.
What a moth this is! A Scorched Wing. Notoriously flighty, mine bolted before I could get a good snap. Fairly common throughout England and Wales, less so in Scotland, the adult is on the wing in May and June. It’s not difficult to see where this moth got it’s name; resembling a ‘scorched’ piece of paper. The larvae feed on a range of trees though most notably Oak, Birch and Willow.
1376 Small Magpie Moth, Eurrhypara hortulata, Dundalk 26 May 2014
This Small Magpie Moth, despite it’s relatively large size, is actually a Micro moth. A pretty one too! Very common in the Southern half of Britain it can be found anywhere nettles are present. The main food plant is Nettle, but Woundworts, Mints, Horehounds and Bindweeds are also used. The larva feeds from a rolled or spun leaf in August and September before hibernating in a tough silk cocoon in a hollow stem or under bark. Adults fly in June and July
A gorgeous moth, the Common Wainscot is like fine linen. They range from cream to an almost ghostly white (my own, whiter version photographed below). A common species over much of Britain, two generation may take the wing in the south and can be seen from May to October. The larvae feed on a range of grasses.
My rather ghostly Common Wainscot
So-called for the central band across the forewings at rest, the Middle-Barred Minor like the other Minors is quite variable in appearance. At just 1cm in length this small macro can range from rufous, sandy coloured through to brown and grey. Usually occupying marshes, river banks, damp flower meadows and damp woodland it is fairly common in Leicestershire with adults on the wing in June and July. The larvae feed on a range of grasses.
Adding to a growing list of ‘Carpet’ moths this year, this Broken-Barred Carpet was new to the mix last week. Fairly common throughout Britain the adults fly in a single generation in May and June with the larvae feeding on a wide variety of shrubs and trees. They wear pretty quickly and can be confused with the ‘Spruce Carpet’, a more rust-coloured moth. My Broken-Barred Carpet below is a worn specimen.
My worn Broken-barred Carpet
This Riband Wave was a joy to photograph, unlike most geo’s it didn’t move a muscle! A medium sized, elegant moth; two distinct forms occur of this species, roughly equal in numbers. The typical form has a dark band across all four wings, whereas the plain form (as mine is), known as ab. remutata, only has narrow cross-lines. Common throughout from June to August, the larvae feed on Dock and Dandelion. The typical form is shown below.
A ‘Typical’ Riband Wave
I love this moth, the Clouded-bordered Brindle. It has some fantastic markings and colouration when looked at closely. Most commonly seen as above (as mine was), there is a melanic variant, ab. combusta, which is a chocolate brown in colour and lacks the strong markings. Common across the Country in June and July, the larvae feed on grasses.

Two Micro Moths to join the fold this week were Celypha Striana and Celypha Iacunana or the ‘Barred Marble’ and ‘Common Marble’. Fairly chunky for Micros, at just under 1cm in length, both turned up on the same evening. Despite being closely related, the Common Marble can be found from May to August whist the larvae feed on a wide variety of herbaceous plants. In Contrast the Barred Marble flies later, from June to August and the larvae feed only on the roots of Dandelion. In my photographs below, Barred Marble is on the left with Common Marble on the right.

This Pale Prominent was a bit of a treat (my own photograph can be seen below) as, like the other Prominents, has a rather unusual, spiky appearance. More common in the south, it can be found all over. The adult flies from May to June whilst in the south a second brood may be on the wing in August. The larvae feed on Poplar and Willow.
My own Pale Prominent.
This Brown Rustic was next in, and like many of the ‘Rustics’ it is a rather drab looking moth. Common across the whole of the UK, the adults fly in June and July with the larvae feeding on a range of herbaceous plants.
Moving away from the dull and drab, the fiery looking Barred Yellow turned up at the trap two night ago and what a fantastic looking moth it is! Small and delicate, what it likes in size it certainly makes up for with the extraordinary colour from bright citrus yellow, to ochre and burnt-orange. This gem of a moth prefers woodland, chalk down land and scrubland but can be found in gardens across the UK. The adults fly in June and July whilst the larvae feed on the leaves of Dog Rose.
Despite the name, this Common Carpet had alluded me until now, arriving well after many of the other Carpet species I’ve had so far. Common throughout, this moth flies in two generations in the Southern half of the country in May and June and then again in August and September, whilst it takes to the wing in just a single brood in mid-July to mid-August in the north. Despite being in the Midlands, it appears to be double-brooded here as my early June catch shows. The larvae feed strictly on Bedstraws.
Stunningly marked, this Dark Arches moth is a bit of a beast, being much larger than I was expecting and it was a treat to see this mammoth moth arrive as a pair (the other photographed below). A very common moth and a bit of a trap-filler in late summer, the adults are usually on the wing in July and August, with a later, second brood in the south. Occurring in a range of habitats, they prefer grassy areas with the larvae feeding on the stem-base of a range of grasses.
Last but not least is this lovely Dot Moth, so called for the obvious snow-white kidney mark in contrast to the dark browns and blacks of the forewing. This one, photographed this morning, is quite early, with the adults usually on the wing in July and August. Frequenting a range of suburban habitats, including gardens, waste ground and roadside verges, the Dot Moth is very common in England and Wales but curiously almost completely unheard of in Scotland. The larvae feed on a huge array of garden and wild plants.

For a full and constantly updated list of all moth species found in the garden this year please follow the link. Garden Moth Species List



    • Its great to know that there is a whole, secretive ecosystem working away through the dark hours! Imagine if the majority of moths flew in the day? We would be inundated!


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