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24 August 2011

23 August 2011 – A Thorny Question

Canary-shouldered Thorn (Ennomos alniaria)  ?

Wasps and plums have been two obstacles hindering successful traps over the last couple of weeks.  The trap is normally placed on grass not far from a plum tree, but the increase of ripening fruit, and the number of young wasps from one of the nests in the garden, has meant that the trap fills up with unwelcome invaders.   A colony of bees has also taken up residence in the wall-cavity of the gallery using an air brick as access – so that area of the garden is out.So last night the trap was placed on the gravel next to the catmint, out of range of the plummy scent and out of sight of the bees and happily the catch was mothier.The result was plenty of familiar species but not a great variety.

Pebble Prominent (Notodonta ziczac)

The Pebble Prominent, Iron Prominent, Yellow Tail, Silver Y and a rather sumptuous looking Thorn (which one though?) made it worthwhile.The pair of Prominents – Pebble (Notodonta ziczac) and Iron (Notodonta dromedarius) are familiar visitors to the garden.  Notos – the back; and odontos – a tooth, refer to the scale-tufts on the forewings.  Ziczac is Latinized from the German for zigzag which refers to the posture of the caterpillar of the species.  An egg batch of Pebble Prominents was bred at Shandy Hall a couple of years ago and the caterpillars fed with their tails in the air and looked as if they had danced out of a Max Ernst painting – have a look on UK Moths and you will see for yourself. Dromedarius (camel) refers to the projecting scale-tufts on the forewings.

Silver Y (Autographa gamma)

The elegant and restrained Silver Y (Autographa gamma) and the immaculate Gold Spot (Plusia festucae) are both fast-flying Noctuids – the largest family of macro-moths in the UKPlusia means ‘rich’, referring to the golden marks and Festuca is the name of the foodplant, a species of fescue grass.The Thorn in the trap looks like the Canary-shouldered variety (Ennomos alniaria) – for the ‘ennomos’ see an earlier posting (25 July) and alniaria refers to the food source – the Alder.  If it is that species then there is another to add to the list:  and that makes 172.

Gold Spot (Plusia festucae)