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2 September 2020

1 September 2020 – Naked Ladies

(Acleris variegana)

For a while I thought this moth was new to the gardens. The trap had been set as an extra to the National Moth Nights as the events themselves had fallen short where numbers and species were concerned.  The chilly following Monday morning didn’t promise much and a total of six moths was the disappointing result : Flounced Rustic, Silver Y, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Flame Shoulder and a pale, fluttering ghost of a moth that escaped my attempts at capture and drifted into the borders.  I followed it and managed one photograph. What species though? 

The curve of the line that separates the smudgy grey markings from the cleaner white collar is the same as on the wings of the Garden Rose Tortrix (Acleris variegana) but the general colouring of the moth was markedly different.  I was guided away from two scarce (but similarly white-coloured) members of the Acleris family (kochiella and logiana – one of which I had had hopeful expectations might be this moth) to a confirmation that it was indeed a Garden Rose Tortrix or Common Rough-Wing (Peronea variegana) as it used to be known.

(Acleris variegana)

Here is the more typical version of the Garden Rose Tortrix (#13) flying next to a flowering Yellow Archangel. #12 is another of the varieties of the same moth.     

Naked Ladies (Colchicum autumnale)

Thrusting through the hard ground beneath the shade of the lilac tree, is a cluster of Naked Ladies or Autumn Crocus.  Appearing magically, seemingly overnight, Colchicum is not a member of the crocus family, so the second name is somewhat inappropriate.  The nakedness of the plant refers to the fact that it is only the delicate flowers that appear as September arrives.  The whole plant is poisonous but, as can be seen from the photograph below, one moth species, the Silver Y, feeds by pushing its tongue to the heart of the flower whilst beating its wings like a humming bird.

Silver Y feeding