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6 June 2015

6 June 2015 – Highflying in June

Moth identification evening

Last night was a National Garden Scheme open evening at Shandy Hall, when viewing the gardens and identifying moths combined.  The full moon and cloudless sky of the previous night conspired to keep moth numbers down but a good variety of species made it more than worthwhile.  Poplar Hawk-moth, Buff Ermine, Pale Prominent, Honeysuckle Moth, Pale-shouldered Brocade, Ingrailed Clay, Rustic Shoulder-knot, Clouded-bordered Brindle, Barred Umber and May Highflyer were identified and released.

The last two species on that list are new to Shandy Hall but no there are no photographs on the blog to confirm. If any of the photographers who were there last night have an image of either of these species, please email them to me and I’ll include them.  Why didn’t I manage to record them with my own camera?  I’ll draw a veil over my incompetence… 

May Highflyer (Hydriomena impluviata)

The May Highflyer (Hydriomena impluviata) is not an uncommon moth but this is the first time it has been recorded in Coxwold.  The scientific name has watery connections – hudria meaning a water-pot; meno : to remain.  An impluvium is the name given to the square basin in the central court of a Roman villa into which rainwater was directed.  The individual we identified settled on a leaf of Phlomis russeliana and a good image of it might should have been obtained.  Oh me miserum. 

Barred Umber (Plagodis pulveraria) Fig.11 

The Barred Umber had been visible to me all day.  When the trap is set in the quarry I normally leave a muslin-sided collecting box close to the light so that those moths that don’t make it into the trap might conveniently rest, already partly captured.  The strikingly marked Umber moth was on the floor of the ‘cage’ when I went down at dawn and for some reason I thought it had already been recorded – so I didn’t photograph it. When Dave Chesmore remarked that it was a particularly nice specimen it still didn’t click that it was a new one for the gardens.  So if any of our visitors have an image, do sent it along. Plagodis means ‘slanting shape’ from the markings on the forewing; pulveraria means ‘dust’ from the reddish powdered scales on the wings.  In the illustration above the Barred Umber has been placed next to a V Moth [Fig. 9]