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6 August 2015

6 August 2015 – Mothing in York

Herald (Scoliopteryx libatrix)

On Tuesday night we ventured to York to set the trap. It was getting chilly by the time we arrived at the Yorkshire Museum Gardens, and the wind was picking up, so we set up right next to the museum, sheltered between small bushes. Arriving early the next morning, we saw that the moths had been deterred from their night flights by the weather; only a few rested on the egg-cartons – I think it was one of the smallest catches of the summer.

Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta puta)

However, despite the dearth of moths, we did come across a few species that we hadn’t seen yet this season, such as the Shuttle-shaped Dart (a mottled macro that could easily blend in to any brown surface) and the neatly spotted Bryotropha domestica micro. The leaflike brown-and-orange Herald and the tan Dun-bar were my favorites of the bunch – the Dun-bar looks like a brown Scalloped Oak, as both have the middle bar and two distinctive blackish dots on either wing.  Two micros are still not definitely identified but we will report as soon as we know what they are.*

(Argyresthia goedartella)*

The others present were mostly ones we’d seen before – Common Rustic, Dark Arches, Garden Grass-Veneer, Heart and Dart, Yellow Underwings. After wrestling with the wind to persuade them into little tubes and a mesh box, as the egg-cartons kept blowing away and several moths happily escaped on the breeze, we set up the project on the path that runs straight through the gardens. Several people stopped on their separate ways to work to inquire about the project.  We hope to return soon next week and set up another trap – one that will hopefully yield a larger range and amount of moths!

*Argyresthia goedartella or Golden Argent  has been identified by Charlie Fletcher.  This micro has not been seen at Shandy Hall and I’ll check with Stuart Ogilvy at YMT to see if it is new for that site.

Post : Ariel A Smith (UPenn)