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21 April 2019

21 April 2019 – Moth in Wolf’s Clothing

Brindled Beauty (Lycia hirtaria)

It was a little premature to announce the appearance of the full moon on the occasion of the previous moth-trap. Good Friday was the correct date – and this moth and that date couldn’t be more appropriate.  The Brindled Beauty (Lycia hirtaria) makes only its second appearance at Shandy Hall and this is a fine, strongly marked, male specimen with pectinate (comb-like) antennae.  The description of the first recording in 2014 can be found here along with the record of the Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria) – a moth very similar in appearance.

The Lycia part of the scientific name is derived from the Greek for ‘wolf’ (lycos) and the wolf is the animal that howls at the full moon.

Brindled Beauties [illustration]

The male and female of the species were drawn in flight for the Humphreys and Westwood edition of British Moths and their Transformations – another word we associate with the wolf and the lycanthropic state.

The Brindled Beauty is recorded as being a scarce and local resident in Yorkshire but it seems there may have been an increase over the last couple of years. 

Twin-spotted Quaker (Anorthoa munda)

This Twin-spotted Quaker (Anorthoa munda) is so clearly marked that it serves as a good identity image for this relatively uncommon species. Sometimes this moth will appear in a rusty-red version and sometimes the twin-spots may not be easy to see.  It tends to spend its time in woodland habitats and is the least likely of the Quakers to be seen in the garden.When first recorded in Coxwold the scientific name was Orthosia munda.  UK Moths now identifies it as Anorthoa munda and I can’t seem to find the reason.

Small Quaker (Othosia cruda)

The photograph of the Small Quaker is included purely because it is a particularly fresh and crisply marked example.  It has retained the Orthosia name unlike its cousin above.

The other moths in the trap included two Garden Carpets (Xanthorhoe fluctuata) that dashed off as soon as the egg boxes were moved; an Early Grey and a few other Quakers.

PS(First swallow spotted in Coxwold on Saturday.)