15 September 2014
14 September 2014 – Moth Progress
|Mouse Moth (Amphipyra tragopoginis)|
We are seen as being a bit soft at Shandy Hall – we use humane mouse-traps. The old house is regarded as a welcome place to hide by shrews, wood mice and house mice and they are happy to inhabit the roof-space or the outbuildings. Fortunately the traps are generally successful and, as long as they are checked first thing every morning, we can release the captured creatures at least a mile away on the road to Byland Abbey. (Apparently they find their way back otherwise.) The moth above has been humanely trapped and released as well and its common name refers to its habit of scuttling into hiding rather than flying. Amphipyra means ‘flying round the fire’ and tragopoginis is the name of the food-plant : goat’s beard (Tragopogon pratensis). The distinguishing marks can just be seen on the photograph – three black spots on each wing, one higher than the pair beneath.
Another moth that has been recorded but not photographed is Celypha lacunana or Common Marble (see below).
|Common Marble (Celypha lacunana)|
This micro-moth took a while to identify as I used as a starting point the fact that in the photograph it has a green eye – which was pretty stupid. Dave Chesmore gave me a near certain identity when I emailed the image.
|Common Rustic agg. (Mesapamea ….)|
The final moth – again already recorded but not posted with an image – is the Common Rustic (Mesapamea secalis). It could be a Lesser Common Rustic (Mesapamea didyma). It could also be a Remm’s Rustic (Mesapamea remmi), but it would seem this is unlikely. I couldn’t work out which species this is without expert help. The moth was very clearly marked but the pages depicting the Arches, Brindles, Minors, Rustics and allies (pp. 261-267 of Lewington’s guide) are the Slough of Despond for the moth enthusiast, who can sink under the weight of possibilities.