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19 September 2019

19 September 2019 – Some of the Usual Suspects

(Agonopterix arenella)

Agonopterix arenella

is not an easy moth to see as it is quite small.  It is also not straightforward to identify as it is similar to Agonopterix alstromeriana (uncommon)  and Agonopterix yeatiana (very scarce). Agonopterix assimilella is another from the same family which is also uncommon.  Agonopterix arenella has been identified once before in the gardens – and in the same month of September – so I can confidently record that this is its second appearance and the other possibilities are all sufficiently different and can be discounted.

The Flame (Axylia putris)

The Flame (Axylia putris) or more simply ‘Flame’ is a straightforward identification.  The September version is smaller than its other appearance in June and July but otherwise its straw colour, with a dark kidney mark with its likeness to a dry stem are all consistent.  The scientific name refers to the moth’s appearance being similar to decayed wood (putris).  It is a common moth and one that can be expected to turn up in the moth trap during the early Autumn.

Green Carpet (Colostygia pectinataria)

Resident. Common. Well distributed throughout England, Wales, Isle of Man, Ireland and Scotland (Field Guide to the Moths of GB and Ireland by Waring and Townsend).  This pretty little green moth loses its colouring quite quickly but the markings on the wings are distinctive.  It feeds on Bedstraw and also Goose-grass.

Canary-shouldered Thorn (Ennomos alniaria)

The Canary-shouldered Thorn (Ennomos alniaria) is unmistakeable – however the scientific name is difficult to pin down.  Ennomos means ‘legal’ and alnus means ‘relating to the alder family’ upon which the larva feeds – according to Linnaeus and we don’t argue with him. The moth is a startling yellow colour and comes to light quite regularly at this time of year. If not seen in the moth trap it is difficult to spot in the wild as it blends into the background like an early autumnal leaf.

Frosted Orange (Gortyna flavago)

Thistle, foxglove, ragwort and mullein (all of which can be found in the garden at Shandy Hall – or just over the drystone wall) are food for the larvae of the Frosted Orange moth.  The adult flies until late October. The patterns on the wings are consistent and once seen it is easy to identify. Gortyna is the name given to a town in Crete but the reason for this is not apparent.