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29 May 2021

29 May 2021 – Mercury’s Staff

Scalloped Hazel (Odontopera bidentata)  

 Carl A Clerck (1710 – 1765) was a contemporary of Linnaeus and made a considerable contribution to  the world of entomology. The naming and classifictation of spiders was the main area of his attention and his name is attributed to the second part of the binomial of this rather handsome moth – the Scalloped Hazel (Odontopera bidentata). The word bidentata: ‘having two teeth’, refers to the fang-like appearance of the outer edge of the wings. This moth has been identified on two previous occasions in the garden although the colouring of the others varied from the straw colour of one to the richer, darker tone of the other.  Photographed next to a hazel leaf (the larval food-plant) the white spots running across both wings seem to be diagnostic; or they are on the few seen at Shandy Hall.

Garden Carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuata)

 The Garden Carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuata) is common throughout the county and country. It can be disturbed in long grass by day and is on the wing from April to October with overlapping generations. Xanthorhoe is from the Greek xanthos meaning ‘yellow’ and rhoe ‘stream’.  This is supposed to refer to the patterns on the wings that are not like rivulets that wind and twist, but are straighter, like streams. Like most of the carpet family they fly at the slightest disturbance when the egg-boxes in the trap are being removed. I have learnt how important it is to make sure a moth is recorded photographically, just as a record, before trying to coax the subject into a better light or position. 

Silver-ground Carpet (Xanthorhoe montanata)

 The Silver-ground Carpet is another flighty moth and quite often seen, but not in particularly large numbers.  Last night’s trap captured only two other species, both of which were pugs with wings sufficiently faded to make identification uncertain.  A total of thirty cockchafers (members of the scarab beetle family) were drawn to the light, as well as a couple of crane flies but (disconcertingly) that was all.  Another trap will be set tomorrow and hopefully there will be more to record.