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1 October 2014

1 October 2014 – Overlooked but not Forgotten

Nutmeg (Dicestra trifolii)

At the end of July – think back to the summer for a moment – a large number of moths were trapped and identified in Coxwold and in York.  This one was temporarily forgotten.  Our UPenn intern, Bowen Chang, was stumped (he thought it might be Grey Arches) and I was stumped too.  It was in a batch of images of micros that were sent to Charlie to confirm and give a name to and it just got overlooked. Fortunately it was remembered and sent to Dave Chesmore who pronounced it ‘Nutmeg’. According to the scientific name it should eat clover (trifolium) but it prefers orache.  The dicestra part is from the Greek word meaning ‘a pointed instrument’, a reference to a ‘post-thoracic fine crest’.  

The Nutmeg is a perfect example of the difficulties of moth identification.  Until a species has been seen and correctly identified in real life, it can be easily confused with moths that are similar. Until the marks, shades or shapes of the newly found species have been absorbed into your personal picture-library, it could be any one of three or four varieties. New to the gardens at York (and not seen yet in Coxwold) this late addition is welcome.