27 July 2016
27 July 2016 – A Moth Like Agate
The moth above, Ancylis achatana discovered on 21 July, has been confirmed by Charlie Fletcher and is also new to the gardens at Shandy Hall. So many of our new species are found outside the trap, on the plastic guard that holds the light. If not there then on the white sheet that the trap is placed upon. It means I have to be extra careful.
This moth looked to be no more than a speck among the many bird droppings on the sheet. I would have paid no more attention to it if it weren’t for the reddish tint near the tip and the unusual shape of the midbody fascia which is joined up with the first pair of costal streaks via a diffused, angled band. This species used to be more concentrated in the South but is possibly expanding northwards. It feeds on hawthorn and blackthorn.
The name ancylis, derived from ‘agkulis’ or angle, describes its hooked wings. Achates means a banded gemstone such as agate, which the markings resemble.
Captured in our trap on 23 July, this minimalistic moth is identified as Tinea trinotella. Its hallmark feature is, as the name suggests, the three (tri-) dots (nota) on the forewing – although the third one seems to have gone missing in our picture. I like the shape of Tinea’s. Everything looks rounded off; even the tornal angle is eased into. You wouldn’t expect to find a yellow Mohican on such a subdued body, but it is there, just visible in the photograph; also its strange appetite for wool, birds’ nests, and animal matters. ‘Wool, Birds’ Nests, and Animal Matters’ – sounds like the name of an Indie album.
The moth has appeared on our blog before as part of a two-trap venture at Barley Studio and Keith Barley’s garden in Warthill, but this is the first time it has been found in our own gardens.
To conclude, a correction has been made: a post from 2011 had mistaken a Crambus perlella for an Agriphila straminella. A real A. straminella is pictured above.
Post: Tung Chau (UPenn)