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24 October 2014

24 October 2014 – Yorkshire Moths Flying Last Night

Dark Chestnut (Conistra ligula)

Last night was warmer, the wind had dropped a little and there was good cloud cover. A thick pile of midges beneath the lamp and an extraordinary number of caddis flies – between thirty and forty in total – hiding somewhat malevolently on the underside of the egg cartons. A number of trembling insects on very long legs – barely able to balance until airborne – left the trap when the plastic cover was removed.  Flies with eyes like rubies and a couple of toffee-coloured ladybirds had also taken up temporary residence alongside the closed fans of lacewings.  And lots of moths.

Feathered Thorn (Colotois pennaria)

I thought there might be two species here but the spattering of chocolate coloured spots on the wings of the moth below were just there to confuse me.  The submarine shape of a caddis, one of those ruby-eyed flies and a Merveille du Jour are also included in the photograph.  The Feathered Thorn at rest.  This might have been the moth that was battering at the window pane last night and I couldn’t identify it.  The colour and the size point in this direction.

Feathered Thorn (Colotois pennaria)
Red-green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata) 

The Red-green Carpet comes in a variety of different intensities of colour.  The green is as rich a green as you will ever see when the moth is fresh (see below), but green is the fugitive colour in the moth world.  The moth above has not taken to the water, the dew is on the outside of the plastic cover and the moth was perched on the inside. 

Red-green Carpet (Chloroclysta siterata) 
December Moth (Poecilocampa populi)

On close inspection there is something of the samurai about this moth.  It is chunky and hairy and seems prepared more for fight than flight.  There were four in the trap and the species seems to be doing well in Coxwold.

Aethes smethmanniana (Yarrow Conch)

Bowen identified this moth in August, just before he left to return to UPenn and, as I hadn’t seen it before, I thought it was a new one for the list.  I was looking forward to identifying it and marking it as new (it is so well marked that an error would be unlikely) but it was not to be.

Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta puta)

Another moth already recorded at Shandy Hall, but only once before this year.

Merveille du Jour (Dichonia aprilana)
Satellite (Eupsilia transversa)

The Merveille du Jour was as beautiful as ever and the Satellite particularly well marked.


Not sure which member of the Acleris family this is.  It could be laterana but then again it doesn’t look brown enough.

Snout (Hypena proboscidalis)

This Snout should be second generation for this year but this one is not much smaller than usual.

Brown-spot Pinion (Agrochola litura)

The Brown-spot Pinion is the last example from last night’s trap.  The weather looks promising again on Saturday so a trap will be set in the quarry.  

The full list of species for last night has been recorded but the sample above shows how one night can be so different from another – the trap on Wednesday had one Red-line Quaker and that was all.