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22 June 2019

22 June 2019 – Cold Moon

Shoulder-striped Wainscot (Mythimna comma)

The moth evening arranged for early June was a complete wash-out.  The gardens open in the evenings and a moth identification and release has been part of the evening for near enough ten years now.  June is such an unpredictable month and the rain and wind this year seem to have reduced the moth population to a mere fraction of what might be expected.  Next week we will  have another attempt…

Meanwhile here are four examples of moths that are high on the list of those you might find flitting like fairies in the shrubbery.

The Shoulder-striped Wainscot has two black stripes running centrally down the forewings, following roughly the line of the abdomen.  A vein of white can also be seen that divides into two or three branches and a small white spot.  The caterpillar feeds on grasses, including Cock’s-foot.

Ingrailed Clay (Diarsia mendica mendica)

Not only is the Ingrailed Clay (Diarsia mendica mendica) extremely variable in its appearance but it also resembles a number of other species just to add to the general confusion.  This example is particularly strongly marked and the white box shape near the kidney mark can be clearly seen.  The larva will feed not only on primroses and violets, but will chew its way through hawthorn, sallow, hazel and blackthorn.  It is very common and a regular visitor to the gardens in Coxwold. 

Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis)

This most common of moths doesn’t normally have such a heart-shaped mark to identify it by.  The dart too is clearly seen.  The Heart and Dart can be found all over the country and has two generations a year.  According to the Field Guide there could be hundreds in the moth trap – this was the only one.

Marbled Minor (Oligia strigilis)

The fourth moth that can be expected to be seen in June through to August is the Marbled Minor.  Another moth that has a wide variety of different wing colours and patterns but the one in the photograph is quite a good exemplar.The scientific name can be broken down into ‘oligis’ small – hence ‘minor’ and ‘striga’ a little line. ‘Stringere’ means to draw and the strigil is that implement that Roman bathers used to draw across their skin to keep their bodies smooth. 

This blog dates from 20 June and there is another trap waiting to be examined this evening.  If there is anything of interest (which there is bound to be) the next post will reveal all.