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30 July 2013

30 July 2013 – A Few Days Left

I’m on my last few days here at Shandy Hall, yet there are still many things left to do. The moths seem to want me to stay as new ones have been coming in numbers these past couple of days! I hope I can record all of them before I leave on Friday. Tomorrow Dr. Chesmore is coming to try to catch some Clearwings with a pheromone attractant. Clearwing moths are daytime fliers that feed on currant bush leaves, which we have plenty of outside my door!

Batia lunaris

Our first two new moths are the Batia lunaris and the Batia unitella. For two micro-moths of the same genus, they look almost nothing alike as far as color and posture go. Both are extremely small. The B. lunaris doesn’t grow more than a centimeter long and the B. unitella about a centimeter and a half. Their personalities are definitely similar – they were content to simply sit there and wiggle their antennae at me. Batia may come from batos ‘a thorn-bush’ for a member of this genus was discovered in such a bush; or it may be from ‘Batia, daughter of Teucer, founder of the royal house of Troy.’

Batia unitella

B. lunaris

 gets its species name from the ‘crescent-shaped’ black mark on its back. This micro-moth is very similar to B. lambdella and is only readily differentiable on sight by its size. The B. lunaris is about half the size of the B. lambdella. B. lambdella‘s mark is described as being a ‘lambda’ instead of a crescent.

B. unitella is a much simpler moth. Its name means ‘unity.’ This is for its unicolorous dark wings. This micro-moth is considered scarce in Yorkshire, but appears commonly throughout the rest of the UK.

Slender Brindle (Apamea scolopacina)

The Slender Brindle (Apamea scolopacina) is one of our new macro-moths.  The Slender Brindle has very smooth wings which have a pattern that does not vary much. Again, Apamea is the name of a town in Asia Minor with no relevance to the moth genus. Scolopax, however, translates to ‘a snipe’ or ‘a woodcock.’ This name was perhaps given for a resemblance in color with the wings or for the slender look of the bodies of the birds and moth. It feeds on various woodland grasses.

Catoptria margaritella

The Catoptria margaritella might be one of the easier Crambidae to distinguish, though it is a relatively scarce micro-moth. It is a bit shorter, stubbier, and more triangle-shaped than its relations, and has a thick white streak on the side of its body – as if someone had taken a paintbrush laden with white paint and wiped it across the wing. This pearly white streak is where it gets its name from – katoptron meaning ‘a mirror’ and margarita ‘a pearl.’ Though difficult to tell in the picture, the mark does shine in the light.

Pammene regiana

Last for today is the Pammene regiana, a micro-moth that Patrick had some fun identifying. The larvae feed on the seeds of the sycamore tree and pupate in between pieces of bark. The Pammene regiana is also scarce in Yorkshire but common overall in the UK. We had three in the trap a couple days ago. They are probably coming from the large sycamore tree in the parking lot of Shandy Hall. There are a several micro-moths that like that tree. The Pammene regiana‘s scientific name has a description that may be one of my favorites. Pammene comes from pan– ‘all, the whole’ and mene ‘the moon.’ This is from the large full moon-shaped spot on its back. Regius ‘royal, magnificent’ describes the regal mixture of colors in the dark of the moth’s wing. If you look closely enough, you can find colors from blackish brown to orange-yellow to metallic blue. This micro-moth definitely takes care to dress well.

With these, our moth count has now jumped to 305! Exciting!

– Post by Jane Wu