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20 June 2012

20 June 2012 – Delightful Discoveries

The Cinnabar, Tyria jacobaeae

To my dismay, a swarm of about fifteen carpet moths escaped the trap as soon as I opened the lid. My luck soon turned for the better as I discovered three new species. It was quite the eventful morning here at Shandy Hall.

The easiest to spot was The Cinnabar (Tyria jacobaeae). Tyria, as in Tyre, the Lebanese city was once famous for its purple dye and jacobaeae, or ragwort, is The Cinnabar’s foodplant. This plant is the main reason why The Cinnabar is not as popular as it probably should be. Ragwort is poisonous to horses so people often tear it from the ground when they find it growing. Fortunately for us, there was enough sustenance to bring this beautiful, fully-grown Cinnabar moth into our garden. Welcome to the list.

Udea olivalis

The next discovery was the micro moth, Udea olivalis. Udea, the surface of the earth, refers to its diet of low-growing plants. Olivalis, the olive-tree, was likely the foodplant of its forbears in Continental Europe. Unfortunately, this moth was disturbed by the frantic flight of the carpet moths, so I was only able to capture a less-than-ideal photograph before it escaped to the trees.

The final species was the pink-colored moth who, in the photo below, is scanning the view from the summit of its egg carton. Although we haven’t identified it yet, we are all confident that it has not blessed Shandy Hall with its presence in the past. I am eager to find out its name although I will bet that it only has a Latin name, as is the case with many micro moths.*


Other species that entered the trap today were the Common Swift, Mottled Pug, Notocelia cynosblatella, Flame Shoulder, and The Spectacle.

Early Grey, Xylocampa areola

Before I end, I must thank Dave Bucko and Paul Brothers from the Butterflies and Moths of North and East Yorkshire Facebook group for helping me identify one of yesterday’s species, the Earl Grey pictured to the left.

*Has since been identified as the Bee Moth (Aphomia sociella). We actually have had a female version of this species in the past (15 July 2011). The females are less colorful than the males who can have tints of pink and green like the one in the photograph.

Post by Helen Levins